Sunday, January 29, 2012

Holy cow!!

I just got a message on Ravelry letting me know that my Super Scarf was chosen to be featured on the cover of the February edition of the magazine, Indianapolis Woman. I am so stoked!
The woman wearing it is Allison Melangton, President and CEO of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

The woman who let me know is in Indy and is going to send me a paper copy. I can't wait!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fix It Fridays (1)

A blog I follow (Knitting Park) is having a "Fix it Friday" feature where each week she fixes a knitting project that didn't quite turn out right or needed tweaking for some reason. I have enough projects which "need fixin" that I decided to join in. Look for posts each week...for as long as I can keep up!

I have a friend who asked for a favour. She has a favourite sweater that she has been wearing for years and can't stop wearing, but the sleeves are too long. They started too long and she thought she could live with it, but they've only been getting longer and more annoying. So her question was, Could I shorten them? -Sure, I said, No problem!

First step was to have her mark the sleeves:
It's always better to do both so you can average the results and be more likely to get it right.

I checked out the sleeves and they were done in the most common way--knit from the bottom (cuff) up. This meant I could not just unravel them from the edge by pulling on a loosened end; I was going to have to cut the strand and unravel it stitch by stitch.

So I counted rows from the edge and made my first snip:
You'll notice I snipped a little below the safety pin. This was for two reasons: first, I needed to leave room to unravel a row so I could have enough yarn to cast off with; and second, because the sleeve will bounce up a little higher once I remove the extra length. We wouldn't want to go from too long to too short! (That would be a harder problem to fix!)

Once I had a loose end to work from, I picked out one row stitch by stitch, placing each released stitch onto a needle:
Once I had the stitches on the needles, I tinked the row to give me the yarn for the bind off.

Because I was tinking from the bottom of the knitting, it wasn't as straight forward as undoing knitting from the top down, but it just took a little extra care. Once the row was done, I went around again slipping stitches so I could make sure none of them were twisted. (Although possible to do while tinking, I prefer to do one thing at a time.)
Yes, I changed needles. The red ones were too small and slippery.
From there is was just a matter of binding off, redoing the part of the seam that I took out, and weaving in the loose ends:
Then repeat for the other sleeve.

When finished, you can see that this sweater looks like it will now fit a normal person with normal sized arms:
Mission accomplished!

Fix It Friday Summary:
Project 1
: shorten sweater sleeves
Cost: $0
Time: ~1 hour

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quilting with Tile

I've been working on the tile back splash in my kitchen. I got one wall up:
and today it was time for the detail I want to have above the stove.

I've been approaching this whole tile project from the perspective of a quilter so today I pulled out my ruler and marking tool:
and my pattern:
and my "rotary cutter":
and my squares of "fabric":
and got to work!

First to mark several tiles on the diagonal using the quilting tool made just for this purpose:
Then it was time to cut on the line:
(I know in traditional quilting there can be a lot of loose threads and an occasional rogue pin on the floor, but I have to say it's still a lot less messy!)

The next piece required marking on both sides of the ruler
along the diagonal:
I used the triangles from the white and the center strip from the green to make the stem. It's usually done in the same fabric as the leaf, but I had bought green tiles to try out the colour and decided to use one since I had it.

When I put it all together I had this:
Not bad, right?

Well, when I drew a square on the wall where it was going to go, the square shape really didn't look good--it needed to be a rectangle.

So I cut a few more white squares and added some red (I need to buy two more), and put on a mitered border, and got this mocked up:
If you fill in the missing pieces, does this remind you of anything??

Yes, I'm going to have a quilty rendition of the Canadian flag on my wall. This makes me giggle. hee hee.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In which I have strong opinions--completely, absolutely, utterly, obviously, unquestionably

Although I didn't make a lot of hand made gifts this year, it's still a time of hustle and bustle and and trying to get things done. I needed to finish some slipper socks, as I recall. And working on my final (and finally mine!) Honey Cowl from the Kidazzle. It always seems appropriate to have a little recovery time after Christmas.

I let projects finish up as they do when you work on them and then didn't start any new ones. It provided a restful lull at the end of the year when I was concentrating on getting work done on my new kitchen and making sure not to dive into something too hastily.

But there is a strong pull for new beginnings at the beginning of a new year...

For the trip we took between Christmas and New Years, I did pack along some new yarn and work on a personal design for a cowl. I knit on it infrequently both because I didn't have a lot of knitting time and because I knew it wasn't going to work out. By the time I got home, I was willing to face up to the fact that I had to rip it out and swatch like a big girl.

I swatched up a few versions of the stitch I had in mind and there this project has sat for at least a week:
I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the middle version--the one with the biggest visible holes. Each stripe is a different way to make an eyelet pattern on a background of garter stitch (with one variation with no holes).

I really like the colours in this variegation. It's very berry. Incidentally, this (right) is what it looks like when you have to rip out your knitting when you were working from both ends of the ball and then it sits at the bottom of your knitting bag for over a week while you carry it around everywhere.

It's a bit of a mess, but still recoverable, I believe. When I'm ready, I'll cast on a big loop cowl and see how it turns out on "take 2."

The next item was more of a necessity item. One of those cases where you're inspired to cast on when you or someone around you is cold, even though you may very well no longer be cold by the time it's done.

Troy has lost his big [fake] furry hat from Russia and his head gets cold. He was looking quite jealous of my new and much-loved subway hat. But he thought his hat would need to have two layers of felted wool, and on and on he went about how he thought it needed to be improved.

I said, "Put on my hat, go blow the snow outside and tell me if you think it needs more."

He did as I said and came in and said, "No this is fine. My head didn't even know it was outside."

"Yes, that is what I thought," I thought.

So I nabbed some black wool/acrylic blend (I know, I know, but I had it on hand) and started knitting. Start at the top with 10 stitches, increase 10 times around every other row until you have enough stitches. I stopped at 100 and that's about where I am.
A little note in case you are confused--the long bamboo needles
are just being used so Troy could try it on. I'm not actually
knitting the hat with them.
About 2-3 more inches and then I will have to decide what to do about covering the ears. After that, I will search for a suitably warm, fuzzy, yet manly felted sweater to line it with.
Let me say I hate working with these cheap, too short, metal dpns but I am too cheap to go buy good ones. How bad is that? Just a little bit? Not at all? I don't know. I just thought I'd say it out loud here in case you are working with tools that you hate too. You are not alone.

The most exciting project, by far, that I have going is a skirt from the latest Vogue Knitting. For the last few months I have been irresistibly drawn to knitting a skirt. And just before the VK issue arrived, I had queued a few patterns in Ravelry, one of them almost exactly like the Vogue one. But after some comparisons, the Vogue pattern won out. Not that it was too crucial as it is only a starting point--I am making plenty o' changes.

Let me first show you their picture, completely inspiring:
(I leave it open on my lap while I knit just so I can stare at it.) I do love their colours, but I wanted to use up my grey variegated and other "on hand" yarns. I went through what I had and picked up this assortment
From top left, I have the black wool raveled from a Ralph Lauren sweater (already used in my Circle Socks); green wool raveled from an American Eagle vest (already used in these socks), the grey variegated (left over from this vest), the orange, green and purple variegated from the same company (used in this vest), and black wool raveled from a ruined Gap sweater from a friend (used in my Mariah cardi). I'm not sure I'll use the last one. I also have a red American Eagle vest just like the green one that I haven't raveled yet. I think I will for this skirt.

A very different colour pallette, I know. I'm thinking I'll need to pick up a white or light cream for a few shots of brightness.

Here it is so far:
(I'm absolutely hoping for something Missoni-ish.)
I'm making it at a different gauge than the pattern and have had to adjust the pattern because of it. (Notes are all on Rav if you're really curious.) And although it may have the least effect on the final product, the biggest modification I am doing is knitting it in the round and from the waist down. Vogue Knitting is completely devoted to bottom up knitting in pieces. They knit this skirt from the hem up and in two identical pieces for front and back which are later seamed together. That is utterly bass-ackwards and I don't know why they keep insisting on this construction.

Obviously this should be knit seamlessly and from the waist down so you can
1. try it on as you go (which I did and it fits around my hips perfectly--hurray hurray!),
2. decide on the length as you're knitting.
Plus it's easier and faster to knit this way (no purling!) and more forgiving if you're running out of yarn (which I don't plan to do, but have a habit of doing so better safe than sorry). I could go on and on but I'll stop there.

Ok, I'll add one more thing. I hate knitting in the round and would love nothing better than to knit this on my favourite bamboo straights, but I'm not because it is unquestionably the wrong way to make this skirt. Ok, now I'm done.

I am prepared for this skirt not to be everything I've ever wanted from a knitted skirt, but I am loving it at the moment.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Lookie Lookie!

Hey! Look what I saw when I got the last Super Scarves Update:

Yup, that's my scarf on the left (with the "Super Bowl XLVI" knit in). It's nice to see it with the patch sewn in the right spot. (I curved the letters XLVI to go around it.)

I'm a little curious why it's a yellow patch instead of the same as the other scarves. (You can see several with the Indy Super Bowl logo on top of the table on the right.) Or maybe the picture was taken while it still had the paper circle I pinned on with "Sew patch here" written on it. Yup, controlling, that's me!!

In any case, very exciting to see my scarf in a group shot. If you'll be watching Super Bowl coverage, make sure to keep an eye out for it! ;)

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