Wednesday, May 10, 2017

next....

I’m finishing up the watermelon GFH for Janet (I had it all made and took the pieces to the Raleigh seminar to use in my seaming class) – I need to finish the side seams and do the zipper. Am also working on the sleeve for the wedding shrug but because it is all hand-transferred lace, I like to have something else, not requiring such full concentration, to do, to give myself a break.
My next project has been percolating in my head for the past month. Janet (travel and hiking sister) wants a summer cardigan – we saw a lady wearing one that caught her attention when we were in Sydney – she was walking toward us and we both turned around to catch a look at the back of it - it was a handknit (popcorn stitch), but not too thick or heavy; sort of slouchy but not sloppy; casual but too casual with a partial shawl collar; three-quarter sleeve that was the underarm/shoulder extended, no sleeve seam; slightly longer in back with curved hemline ending just under the butt, and I’ve been day-dreaming about how to make it ever since.

The yarn was presenting the biggest problem because I want to make it on the standard gauge machine because of the popcorn-look. I figure I can use that basic tuck stitch to simulate the texture. I was planning to use the knit side, but so far, my swatches all look better to me on the purl side. I have a big cone of Softball cotton 2.2 in a neutral shade – we had discussed colours and she has a lot of jewel tones in her wardrobe but wanted to get away from that and try something different but she’s not sure what – I suggested pale gray, ecru, ivory…keeping it on the lighter, neutral shades that would kind of go with anything. I did swatch up the softball but it is knitting at T9-10 and after washing is like a piece of cardboard. Scratch that. My next option is a large cone of a cotton bouclé that I’m not sure where it came from (I’ve had it that long) but the label says Silk City Fibers Cotton Crepe – they don’t even show it as discontinued so I’ve no idea of the yardage…I made two swatches of tucks, one at T7 and one at T8 – they both look sort of loose and soft and it’s not washed yet. I weighed the swatch – it’s 28g and I have 540g left on the cone. I took out a largish, long cardigan of mine and lay the swatch over the back – 6 swatches would make the back, double that for the front and 4 for the sleeves portion, so 16 X 28g is 448g – this might work! The swatches are in the dryer – watch for updates!

Monday, May 8, 2017

good karma...

I got to Raleigh, NC for the Carolinas Guild seminar with a few delays but I got there, only two hours late! With my luggage! That was my big fear. I had heard some bad things about air travel lately, especially going through Toronto – they are re-doing a couple of runways and between that and the weird weather, lots of cancellations! I was thanking the air travel gods for getting me there.
We had a blast! Thanks to Cindy, Rita, Sandra, Reba, Mary and whoever else pitched in to put together a great show! My buddy, Mike Becker from Distinctive Knits, was there to teach and had a great selection of tools, accessories and stuff. April Mills drove all the way from the west coast to teach and share her knitting expertise. My friend Sonia Burda came up from Florida; Kay (aka Grace) drove down from NY and it was like old home week! Annette Dirlam, a subscriber to Knitwords from day one was there and we had fun remembering the old days - she even brought a sweater that she had made from one of my original books from 1995 (Casual Classics, her version of Sage & Navy), I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of her in it - she wore it in the fashion show and it was a big hit! And Sandra England wore her 'Fit'n'Flare' which was her own design, submitted and published in Knitwords No 14 from  Autumn 2000 - proving that knitware does stand the test of time!
I got some great suggestions for what I should be doing for my next publication – I’ll let you know what I decide on!
To fill my travelling time I read ‘Testimony’ by Anita Shreve – 5 stars! I had read ‘Sea Glass’ and ‘The Pilot’s Wife’ in the past and enjoyed them as well and now I’ll have to search out more of her titles.
Am currently Netflixing ‘Last Tango In Halifax’ – it is heartwarming, heartbreaking, ridiculous, hilarious and I love it!
Going home seemed like a piece of cake and everything went smoothly but there was no luggage when I arrived in T Bay. No big deal! I didn’t have to carry it and they delivered it to my door this morning!
Oh and I forgot to tell you, Jason called me from Rockinghorse Farm in St Cloud, MN  and invited me back to their two day seminar in September (the 15th and 16th) –  I had such a good time there in 2015 and am thrilled to be asked back – I think they might like me! :-)  I’ll be working on something special for then – I’ve got four months!

Monday, May 1, 2017

progression of a design...

I have the base piece of the shrug knit and I’m really happy with it – it’s lovely and soft and the angora has a beautiful drape to it. I wanted to be sure that it would be long enough in the back before going any further so I decided that it would be good to get Shannon here to see how it was actually going to work for her – she’s like half a minute in size but reasonably tall and I thought this would be the time to see if maybe I should/could add a sleeve to it – after all, the date in June (the 17th) could be quite cool – there are no guarantees with our weather here and we’ve just had one of the worse ice storms at the end of freakin’ April so who knows?
Anyway, Shannon came and she was on the same page, that a sleeve might be a good idea – I told her I could make one, with a very snug fit and we could try it and then re-evaluate – the yarn is holding out really well - I have more than half left so I don’t expect any issues there – stay tuned! I'm heading to NC for this weekend and I have a few more samples to knit and some packing to do so I won't get to it until next week at the earliest...

Monday, April 24, 2017

some cheats....

There I was, all anxious to get going but I didn’t want to waste the yarn or the time to make a swatch (kids, don’t try this at home!) but I knew that would be incredibly foolish. With the angora, I had cast on 20 stitches and knit a few rows to get the tension that I wanted – slightly loose but not too loose - to make the yarn go farther and have the resulting fabric drapey and thinner - angora will be quite warm anyway and I didn’t want it to be like a quilted vest! I settled on T7. I unravelled that so as not to waste a drop!
 I had some alpaca that looked like the same thickness so I made a quick swatch with it. Technically, for a swatch on the LK150/6.5mm machine you want to measure 30 sts by 40 rows with the orange gauge, so I cast on 16-0-16 stitches wide and knit one full pattern repeat which is 28 rows – I was using pre-knit yarn from a previous practice swatch (😉). Pinned it out, steamed it, released it and then measured it, roughly a 6-inch square, to obtain a starting point, of 18 stitches and about 22 rows to 10 cm. So, I plugged that into my KR11 knit contour and found the mylar sheet with my original half-scale schematic from 1999! I’m ready to knit for real! I get going and I’m planning to mark my stitches on the real thing to be able to do an actual gauge as I’m knitting the back – (see ‘cheating at swatches’ http://knitwords.blogspot.ca/2008/04/im-packing-up-to-go-teach-at-cardiknits.html). I’m not sure if I ever told you this but how do you hang yarn marks on the 16th needle on each side of 0 when one or both is out of work? You just count over to the next needles that are in work – on this particular row, #16 left is out of work (I pulled the #16 needles out for this photo so you could see) and looking at the right, #16 is in work but then there are two needles to the right of that out of work, so I need to count over 3 needles to the right on each one to find a working needle each side that will mark the 30 needles (NOT stitches) required for the correct measurement -OMG, hope that makes sense! Then I take a yarn tag, tie a knot in it so it won’t inadvertently pull out and hang the loop over the needles I want to mark – don’t pull this through or it will spoil your piece – you want to be able to cut these off the inside without loosing a stitch after you’ve done your measuring!
I hung my stitch tags on row 19, 40 and 61 so I have 40 rows from bottom to top for the row gauge. At row 70, I took the whole thing off on waste yarn and let it rest overnight before measuring for the final, more accurate gauge and oh my! Just like the professional I am, it is 18 stitches by 22 rows! 😉
Oh, and one more thing, on this pattern, I have set it up so when my carriage is at the right, the transfers are done, check that the correct needles are in or out of work and then two rows knit. If you are stopping to take a break, stop when the carriage is at the left. That way, you won’t make the mistake of just knitting two (more) rows before making the transfers! This is not exactly a fun pattern to rip back 20 rows because you didn’t spot the error sooner ;-(.
Hope you’re coming to Raleigh to see this thing – it’ll be your only chance!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

what's a shrug?...

Have you ever had one of those times when you’ve regretted that generous offer you made to do something for someone? Well, it’s not like I am begrudging my time or efforts but I was seriously concerned that I wouldn’t be able to come up with something she’d like. Let me backtrack a bit and tell you the whole story. Manfriend’s son is getting married and I thought, it’s kind of like family and seeing as how I’ve been making things for the brides in my family, I could offer to make something for Shannon. She showed me a photo of her dress - it is beautiful with an illusion neckline and a plunging back. The wedding is mid-June and I know it’s going to be cooler in the evening at least and the venue is an old barn/farm setting that isn’t likely to be heated. Her dress was called blush but it isn’t really – the lining is blush but the lace overlay is ivory. When I made the offer, I thought I could dash off a rectangular stole easily – my thought was thread lace - and use it as a sample in one of the classes I am teaching at the Carolinas Guild Seminar (May 4, 5/17 in Raleigh, Carolinasmkg.com ).
I got out all my white/ivory/ecru/beige yarns and asked Shannon to come over and pick out the yarn. And the thing is, for some strange reason, I included this cone of French angora that has been on my shelf for at least 15 years and it’s a mid gauge thickness, 3/10– all the rest were standard gauge weight. I had a couple of garments near to show her choices of tuck lace, lace carriage laced, thread lace and my hand-transferred lace Church Cardi, done on the LK150. Wouldn’t you know, she zeroed in on the angora and the leaf and Battenburg stitch patterns of the Church Cardi and then I had to make it worse by saying that I didn’t really like shawls anyway because you have to hang on to them and it might be nice to have something more like a cape style that could be buttoned at the neck and leave your hands free. Cripes! I’ve been sweating for the past two weeks, worrying about how I was going to do this. First of all, I have only 10 ounces of the angora and I’m already worried about running out. Then, I’m thinking, sideways knit, okay but these stitch patterns are not really going to look that great sideways and add in some shortrowing and I just wanted to throw my hands in the air and say I give up!
But, you know I’d never do that… and then, yesterday, in a flash of brilliance, I remembered this cool shrug from way back in Knitwords #9, summer of '99 – I called it ‘a different shrug’ and it was knit in one piece and could be the perfect canvas for any of those lacy patterns – the cast-on edge at the lower back is curved and drapey, there are darts at the shoulder to create a cap sleeve and omg, I’m so excited! Now, if I can pull this off! ;-)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

yarn bombed trees...

So there I was…
Sitting in an outdoor food court in Sydney, Australia and I couldn’t help noticing how well-dressed the trees were!
I took a closer look and, darn, if these yarn bombs weren’t machine knit! I recognize that cast-on – the 'every other needle, hang the comb and bring all needles to work' one that I use on the LK150!
The main trunk of the tree was covered with one piece up to the first fork and very neatly seamed and then, the extra, thinner limbs were simply wrapped with a narrower piece but the graded colours and stripes were very nice with some thought going into the making! The added little motifs of crocheted hearts were the perfect extra touch!
If I had a tree in my back yard...

 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

from the land down under...


Oh, that's kind of catchy - they should use that in a song! LOL!
Spotted in the Sydney airport...
3D sweaters! Some of you, not naming names, may remember these as coogi sweaters from like 15 to 20 years ago and they were all the rage in machine knitting circles, mostly done on Passap. In fact somewhere in a really old Knitwords we maybe had an article?? About a lady (I think her name was Delores something from the west coast) who made them...These are very, very fine gauge, much lighter than they were before.
Anyway, I am in Australia, heading for New Zealand. If you'd care to read about my adventures, maybe get a few travel tips or better still, what not to do, check out
travelwithmysis.blogspot.ca

Will be back here at the usual location sometime after March 17 which is our return date to Canada.
PS we are going to a sheep ranch where we get to see a sheepdog herding sheep and see a sheep-shearing done the old-fashioned way. I'm so excited!

PS. I just checked my index files and in KW#23, we had an article from Dolores Faulkner and she called her version 'Patience', made on her Brother 940 single bed.