Monday, October 23, 2017

Sleeves + Seams = Sweater and Shipped

It is finally finished! It only took two years....

Well, sometimes that is what it takes. The main hold up for this one was that the colours I had weren't right for any kind of striping but there wasn't enough of any one colour to use. I decided I could dye two of the colours, but that didn't get done for a long (long) time.

I did finally get to it earlier this year and was able to continue the sweater. Fortunately the notes I made in the printed pattern, which was more like a recipe than a pattern, gave me enough information to carry on.

Last time you saw this sweater, the front and back were done and the collar was knitted on. Everything was ready for the sleeves.

Yes, the sleeves.

The first problem was to address the amount of yarn I had in each colour. I first attempted to knit them in the same stripe pattern as the body, but I didn't have enough of a couple of the colours. I worked on both sleeves at once so I could know right away if I had enough. When I realized I didn't, I had to rip out both of them and decided on a different striping pattern you'll see in a minute.

Then I had decisions to make about the shaping. The pattern called for sleeves with flat tops - no armhole or shoulder shaping at all. This works, but it's not a very nice fit. With wool this thick, it would be especially uncomfortable because of all the unnecessary bulk under the arm.

So I worked on figuring out a shaped sleeve cap that would work. Hmmm, I don't know what I was thinking the first time, but you can see it on the left:
If you can't see how wrong that shape is, let me assure you that it is way wrong. Of course, I had to try sewing it in anyway just to see if it would work. It didn't. So I put it aside and worked on the second sleeve, making a few improvements. You can see it on the right - much better. Once I ripped out the left one and knit it to match, I was able to sew them on to the body.

I decided to use a thinner and stronger wool to sew the seams. As I mentioned before, the yarn it is knit with is a single ply and doesn't hold up very well for seaming. It would also make the seams much too bulky. So I grabbed a leftover ball I had in a sort of "neutral" matching colour and used it instead.

Here is a shot of the mattress stitch before I pull out the slack:
Give a gentle persistent pull, and your seam is all sewn up:
You can't even see the sewing yarn anyway. Here is the seam from the inside:
Still a little bulky. Sometimes people will sew the seam using only half of the selvage stitch instead of the whole stitch. That would cut this bulk in half. I decided not to do it because I didn't think it would work well with the slipped stitch selvage stitches that I do.

Here is a shot of the sleeve seam as well:
And here is the entire sweater:

I don't think you can tell that purple strip had to have surgery:
I adapted the collar of the pattern and I think it worked out well:
I finished the sleeves and hem with a garter band. I prefer it lately to ribbed bands and it matches the garter collar.
Project Stats
: 7 Jul '15
Finished: 17 Sep '17
Pattern: The Steppe Ahead Sweater by Irina Makarow
Materials: Various balls of Lopi, picked up here and there.
Once this was done, I felt it was worth sending a box of woolly goodness to Wool-Aid.
The organization was just recently able to reconnect with a monastery in Gamrau, India. We haven't been able to send to them since 2015. We didn't know why but now know it was because of internet problems and no one who spoke English. Somehow a sponsor in Belgium is now able to act as a go-between and organize things.
There are now 32 young monks, ages 7 to 17 living there (up from 19 a few years ago), plus six elders. Winter weather in Gamrau is severe, and this group has always struggled to stay warm. They have restrictions on what colours they can wear, but my red socks will work perfectly. (And don't worry, the other socks and sweaters will work perfectly well for another group.)

After finishing this sweater, I didn't have a big quantity of any of these colours. I sent them to my sister who's always knitting hats so she could use them up. It will be fun to see what she comes up with.

ETA a picture of the hats she made:
She had them done so fast she was able to get them to me before I shipped the box!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Like Mother, Like Daughter Dress, Delivered

My mom visited recently and was able to deliver the dress my sister and I made for my niece. She wore it the first chance she got:
It fits...there's room to grow...couldn't be better!

And here's the original again, if you would like to compare:

A super big "Hooray" for this project! :D

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Can See Right Through You

I was given tickets to the Colts game this weekend, when Peyton Manning's jersey number was retired. My two favourite things: football and Peyton Manning. Ok, so maybe that's the same favourite thing, but anyway.

When I finally did some research about getting to the stadium and getting in the stadium, I learned that the NFL has a "clear bag policy". That is exactly what it sounds like - any bag you bring in has to be a clear, see-through bag. (Women are allowed a small hand clutch, but that's it.)

I thought about packing light and putting everything in pockets. It wouldn't be too hard as I usually put all my valuables on my person instead of in my purse when I go to games. But I just couldn't picture going through Saturday (when the same policy applied to the statue unveiling) and Sunday without a bag. What about my extra camera? What about my sunglasses? What about my knitting? (You know, in case of an emergency. Like the 7 hour weather evacuation I had at a Notre Dame game - I was very happy I had my knitting that day!)

Of course, I also didn't like the idea of buying one of the licensed Colts or NFL bags, and I didn't have a clear shopping bag. (Also, ew. They're just not nice to carry.)

So when my eyes lit on a clear case that I was using to store yarn, I hatched a plan. A simple, quick plan - add handles to this zippered case. (It's one of the cases that sheet sets come in.) In addition to being available, it was close to their size guidelines.
I was out of bed a little early on Friday morning and I finished this before going to work. I had leftover strips of black fabric from cutting out another project.

I sewed two together end to end to get the length. Then I folded it in on itself twice the long way so that no raw edges were showing. I then top stitched along all four sides. Repeat for strap two. I sewed them onto the plastic bag and done.

I didn't make the straps very long. In fact, I didn't really measure the length at all. Two of the scrap pieces end to end seemed like it fit in the acceptable range for purse straps, and I didn't consider it any further. (This was a quick project I was doing before work in the morning, after all.)

But much to my delight, when I got ready to go out on Saturday, I discovered that it was the perfect length for wearing over my shoulder. Truly the best way to carry a bag.
I couldn't have been happier!
I have no pictures of it in action at the game, but trust me, it worked perfectly.
I posted this pic on IG and it was of the ones
they displayed on the scoreboard!
 And I did manage to fit in a little knitting before the game and between plays:
In keeping with my habit of attending long football games, this one went into overtime. I'm not going to say it was my awesome clear bag that helped Vinatieri kick the winning field goal in my end zone, but you can't deny it didn't hurt! ;)

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...