Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Took me forever to get around to posting this... but here it is.
Yarn: RYC Cashcotton 4 Ply, one skein. This is enough for making matching baby booties, with lots and lots left over. (Note: This yarn is discontinued and getting hard to find. Which is sad because it's so gorgeous and soft. Why, Rowan?)
Needles: 2.75mm (US #2) straight or circular, or size needed to obtain gauge.
Gauge: 7 sts and 9 rows: 1" in stockinette stitch
Size: 13" unstretched, 16" stretched. I didn't have a baby handy to try it on, but based on charts I consulted it should fit a baby slightly larger than newborn.
Instructions: Cast on 74 stitches. Work in garter stitch (knit all rows) 25 rows. Purl next row; work in stockinette stitch 4 more rows, ending with a purl row.
Begin crown shaping:
Row 1: k1, *k7, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 66 st.
Row 2 and all even-numbered rows: p.
Row 3: k1, *k6, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 58 st.
Row 5: k1, *k5, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 50 st.
Row 7: k1, *k4, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 42 st.
Row 9: k1, *k3, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 34 st.
Row 11: k1, *k2, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 26 st.
Row 13: k1, *k1, k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 18 st.
Row 15: k1, *k2tog, repeat from * to last st, k1. 10 st.
Break yarn and draw through last 10 stitches; fasten off. Use yarn ends to sew up sides of hat. The k1's at the beginning and end of each row of stockinette are taken up as a seam allowance; no seam allowance for the garter section. I used the bottom tail to sew the garter section and the top tail to sew the stockinette section.
This is, of course, my first knitting pattern. I worked out the math before knitting, so it is "tested", but I might have missed something. If anyone makes this and finds an error (or errors!), please let me know in the comments.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Inspiration: I like the idea of fingerless gloves because they can be worn indoors or out. This is an extremely popular pattern, so I figured it would be safe for a first try. It's pretty, too!
Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath in Knitty.
Yarn: one skein* Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% merino wool/33% microfiber/12% cashmere) in 017 grape from Craft and Save on eBay. I chose the color because it reminded me of Arwen's "Traveling Outfit" in The Return of the King. Silly reason, but true.
*see Notes below.
Needles: US size 6 Bryspun double-pointed needles.
Notes: These were a bit more of an epic than they should have been... I ended up knitting them three times!
The first time was back when I was knitting "backwards". I had bought only one skein of yarn, and I ran out with one round, the bind-off, and the thumb left on the second mitt. So I had to buy another skein to finish the set.
When I discovered my knitting error, I realized that it accounted for the mitts being rather un-stretchy. I was going to be driven crazy by owning un-stretchy, backwards-knitted mitts, so I unravelled and reknit them, this time knitting conventionally. Before doing so I wondered if conventional knitting would use less yarn; it didn't.
It did, however, make the mitts much more stretchy. Too stretchy. I have fairly small hands (about 7" around the knuckles), and they were just swimming. I unravelled my mitts again. This time I cast on only 40 stitches, which made 8 cable repeats. Also, I made the thumb five stitches wide instead of seven. Much better fit. Of course, this version *did* use only one skein. Ugh.
The first time I knit these, I was still dealing with ladders; fortunately, the cable pattern camouflages such problems. Great double-pointed needle practice!
It's also a good project for learning to cable without a needle, which I did on the final version. I watched a few videos on the subject, but the best explanation for me was this one. It's scary at first, but faster and easier.
Before I started, I was nervous about working the thumbs, which was a new technique for me. Fortunately it was quite simple.
One more thing: I hadn't done a picot bind-off before. The first time I did it, I tried to do it loosely, as one is ordinarily supposed to do. For whatever reason, though, a picot bind-off looks much neater if it's bound off somewhat tightly. So I did that on the last pair.
Conclusion: I had a lot of learning to do for such a little knit. At least it's fast! But I like them very much, and am looking forward to making more mitts... there are so many lovely patterns available.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
So I'm doing a few new things. One is writing a non-project blog entry. Another is having a cohesive sewing/knitting plan. It's not an actual SWAP, but it's similar. I decided to do this about two months ago, and have been playing around with color and design ideas since then. Here's what I've come up with.
My color scheme is sage, sky blue, and white, with accents of brown, olive, and khaki. Like many sewers, I love the colors and designs of the Liberty lawns (and find their prices out of my reach for the time being!), so it was cool to find almost the same palette in this print:
I hope to make two tops, a cardigan, two skirts, a pair of pants, a dress, and a purse. Specifically:
Top #1: McCall's 5522 in white stretch poplin. I'll use view A, but make plain short sleeves.
Top #2: Green Gable in brown. Mine will be longer than the modeled top, and have a slightly higher neckline.
Cardigan: Liesl in sage. Mine will have short (but not cap) sleeves, two buttons, a medium neckline, and end just below the waist.
Skirt #1: original pattern in olive stretch sateen. It will be based on this Anthropologie skirt, but I won't do back pockets or the extended waist tab. (Similar, actually, to this skirt from last year, but hopefully better fitted and in a slightly more versatile color. Ahem.)
Skirt #2: remake of this skirt. I need to add more waistband interfacing and get rid of the pockets.
Pants: pattern to be named later in khaki stretch twill. Possibly Burda 8085 or Jalie 2561. I've heard that Jalie is coming out with a true jeans pattern in a couple of weeks, so I'm waiting to have a look at that before deciding. I'm going for something like this, but with a higher waistband.
Dress: New Look 6776 (view A+C) in a sage/sky/white floral cotton. Inspired by this dress. I'll raise the neckline (several inches), make wider shoulder straps, and change the skirt to a-line or gored, and add godets. If I really want copy Anthro's look, I'll also have to change the gathering in the bust panel.
Purse: not sure yet. I'll either use one of Mom's patterns or make my own, and use white linen/cotton trimmed (piping? ribbon? embroidery? topstitching?) with sage.
I *could* add several more items... a jean jacket, a layering tee or two, maybe a pair of capri pants, and so on. But these projects will keep me busy for awhile, and they'll give me the beginning of a much more put-together summer wardrobe. I'm looking forward to getting started!
Posted by Anna at 10:15 AM
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Inspiration: I ordered the fabric to make a skirt, but when I touched it I realized that it was too lightweight for anything other than a tiered skirt. And I don't particularly like tiered skirts. I decided to make a long-sleeved shirt instead. Actually, I need tops more than I need skirts right now, so it worked out well.
Pattern and Modifications: McCall's 5138, view F. I added sleeve cuff ruffles from McCall's 4922 (now out-of-print, but this one is similar). I wanted a double-layer ruffle, but that pattern makes a hemmed single-layer ruffle. So I only used it for the width (i.e., the edge sewn into the cuff seam). The depth is 3-1/4", which when pressed in half makes a 1" deep ruffle with a 5/8" seam allowance.
I also traced the bodice neckline from 4922 onto 5138 so that I could use the stand collar pieces from 4922. Got that?!?
Fabric: 100% cotton featherwale corduroy from Fabric.com
Interfacings and Notions:
- lightweight sew-in interfacing
- eight clear 1/2" buttons
- beige 100% rayon 1/2" seam binding
Notes: All French seams except armscye. For that I used seam binding as for my trellis blouse; however, it worked better the first time than the second! I think it had to do with the corduroy being too lightweight. The blue lawn I used was lightweight, too, but much more stable, and it was underlined with batiste. Not sure what I'll do if I make another featherwale corduroy shirt... maybe just hand-overcast the armscyes.
I'm a little unhappy with the sleeve length: I probably could have taken 3/4" or so out. I wasn't trying for the bloused-sleeve look! I didn't make a muslin because I've used the pattern before -- just not with long sleeves. I've never before had reason to think I have short arms, so my guess is that it's the pattern.
Conclusion: I like how this turned out as a sort of tailored poet's blouse; I can dress it up or down depending on what else I wear. Once I tweak this pattern some more it will be a great go-to shirt for me.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Inspiration: I knit myself some fingerless gloves in January. They haven't been blogged yet because I knit them in my "backwards knitting" stage, and it bothered me so much that I ripped them out and am reknitting them. But Mom liked them, and asked if I'd make her some mitts if she supplied the yarn. This pattern is terribly simple, but it was just what I needed for working out my dpn ladder problems.
Pattern: Toasty from A Friend to Knit With.
I modified it by knitting only 7" before slipping the thumb stitches, and to 9" total length. This was so that I could get both mitts out of one skein. An inadvertent mod was casting on one extra stitch... I noticed after a few rows and didn't feel like starting over. I could have added two extra rounds to each mitt if not for that stitch, but they actually turned out to be a great length for Mom.
Yarn: one skein Classic Elite Portland Tweed (50% wool/25% alpaca/25% viscose) in 5036 Desert Sand from Patternworks.
I don't expect to use a lot of multicolored yarns in my knitting. But *tweeds* are another story. I love tweed. And this one is terrific, beige with flecks of mustard and caramel and dark brown and white. I felt like grinning every time one showed up on the needles. Weird but true.
Needles: US #7 Bryspun dpns.
Notes: An inch or so into the first try at these, I had horrible ladders. It was at night, so I ripped the work, cast on again (with said extra stitch), and set it aside for morning.
The next morning, I did more research on the internet. Was I to have the unhappy distinction of being conquered by double-pointed needles? I decided to try every tip I had read, which included:
- knitting on five dpns rather than four
- holding the first stitch on the new right needle close against the last stitch on the previous right needle
- pulling the second stitch on a new needle tight, the third semi-tight
- knitting with work right side out (is this what everyone does? Was I weird to knit inside out previously?)
- starting the new right needle under the previous right needle
Conclusion: An extremely easy knit, very fast.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Inspiration: One of my cousins and his wife (a different cousin than last year) just had their first baby, a little boy. I wanted to knit something for him, and this bootie pattern gets good reviews. The hat is my own design.
Pattern: Saartje's Bootees (download in the right sidebar). I made up the hat pattern.
Yarn: one skein RYC Cashcotton 4 Ply (35% cotton, 25% nylon, 18% angora, 13% rayon and 9% cashmere) in 912 biscuit from WEBS. It's incredibly soft -- feels like knitting the rabbit itself!
The booties use a tiny amount of yarn (I made the larger size), and even after knitting the hat I have about 1/3 of the skein left.
Needles: US size 2 (2.75mm) Bryspun dpns. I ordered them from Paradise Fibers, which has good prices, a great selection of needle brands, and shipped very quickly.
Neither the hat nor the booties are knit in the round. I bought dpns because they're more versatile than straight needles, and I figured I'm likely to need them when I make socks. I "converted" them to single point needles by wrapping a rubber band around one end.
Notes: The strap was hard to figure out. I modified the directions to use a knitted cast on, and cast on 14 stitches rather than 12 for a bit more length. I also made a yarn over buttonhole instead of the button loop.
I knit the hat (or part of the hat) four times before coming up with something I liked. The yarn stood up well to repeated ripping!
I hadn't seamed knits before, so I hope the seams are done right. For the vertical garter stitches, I did an invisible seam; the vertical stockinette stitches on the hat are mattress seamed; and the horizontal garter stitches on the soles are just seamed with a very short running stitch. This article has good photos of the first two methods.
Conclusion: Knitting fine-gauge yarn was new, but not too hard. The wonderful feel of the Cashcotton was totally worth it. I don't have a baby to try these on, so I hope these fit -- and that his parents like them!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Inspiration: I've always liked vests. Dressy vests or sporty vests, but certainly fitted vests. Mom made me a brown mini-plaid vest and skirt ensemble when I was about ten, and I drove her nuts by insisting upon wearing the vest buttoned closed, because I liked it fitted. Anyway. This particular garment isn't inspired by anything other than that I like vests, and the fabric was a good price.
Pattern and Modifications: Kwik Sew 3453, view A. I shortened it to fit an 18" zipper. It would have been simpler if I had remembered to shorten it *before* cutting out the fabric; however, it still worked.
Fabric: 100% polyester fleece from Fabric.com. It's Malden Mills Polartec 200, the "good stuff" as far as polar fleece goes; this particular fabric has a cool grid texture on one side.
Interfacings and Notions:
- Fusi-Knit for shoulder stabilization
- 18" one-way plastic separating zipper
Notes: I don't really like sewing knits on a standard machine, but fleece is no problem. The topstitching was a little difficult, though - but the pocket topstitching is better lined up in real life.
The only step that made me nervous was applying the band to the armscye, but it was easy. What I should have been nervous about was the hem, which took three attempts to get something presentable.
The fabric for this was under $5/yd. I bought a yard and a half of fabric, and I could get another vest out of the piece. Compare that to fleece vest prices at L.L. Bean, or R.E.I., or Cabela's. I love sewing.
Conclusion: Outdoor wear is a new aspect of sewing to me, and it's awfully fun. My brother told me this vest is pretty nice; he is stingy with compliments, so I consider this a great success!
Apologies for the blue cover on the dressform.