Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Pattern IS Incredible!

That is the "Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan" Pattern from http://www.woolworks.org/patterns/raglan.html. I downloaded the pattern a while back but was a bit perplexed and nervous to start.  Then I took a class on Craftsy.com  from the great knitter and designer, Stephanie Japel, called Fitted Knits and I really felt I had the confidence to start this.  Now I have made a couple of sweaters before, and felt happy with them, but this just works so well for me, I think I will take bits of this with me now to every garment I make!
Having said that, let's get to the actual 4, yes four, sweaters I have completed with this pattern:

 Sweater #1:  I made this one for me.  It starts out with taking measurements and notes.  You must, must, must make a gauge swatch - did you notice I said MUST?  That is the secret to the entire sweater!

 Since I did all my measurements and combined with the lesson in measurement taking in my Craftsy Class, I felt confident in starting in:

I tried to take detailed notes, and with the pattern, there is a line for just about everything!  I used some Fisherman's Wool I got at half price at Hobby Lobby.
     One neat feature of this pattern also, is that you cast on for the neck, but don't work in the round until you have the prescribed number of stitches increased properly.  That allows for a lower front neck than back and seems to me that that is the key to this sweater being so much more comfortable than a previous one I made that seems to want to slip up my neck to the back.
     Next, I knew I wanted to decrease for my waist.  My bust is such a size that if I make something to be comfortable on top, the waist seems to get lost, so I learned I could decrease after the bust to give a more flattering waist shape.  After I knitted past the armholes, I tried it on and marked the 'bust points' so I could do 1 decrease at each point.  I also marked the center back and did a decrease on each side of that.  That gave me an inch decrease every inch.  When I knitted to the measurement just above my waist, I knitted for a couple of inches then started increasing.  At the high hip measurement, I made my hem.

At first I did a ribbed hem, but it looked very unflattering.  With my 'ins and outs' it had a balloonish look right where I didn't need a balloon.  So I pulled it out and made a knitted hem.  I had read about it someplace but couldn't find the directions again, so from memory I tried this:

When at proper length, purl 1 row.  Knit a round decreasing 10% of your stitches (K8, K2Tog), continue in Knit for 1 inch, bind off loosely, leave a long tail and whipstitch hem up, folding at purl row.

It's a nice hem and I'll use it again and again I'm sure!

So, being so happy with knitting my sweater in less than 2 weeks, I started in on one for my daughter:

This one is made with some Cascade 220 I had in my stash.  I love using this yarn!
I used the same rolled neck, (just stockinette stitch for about 3"), but put a ribbed hem on hers.  She's about a size 6, so she can handle that .  Also I made her slight decreases on the sides instead at the bust points.

 Sweater #3:  I made this for my 10 yr old grandson.  I decided to use Red Heart Soft Yarn since it would be washable and dry able for his mom.  On the label it says NO DYE Lot.  Well, imagine my surprise when I got finished and in the bright light of the camera flash I saw the line very clearly where I changed skeins!!!.  Hmm,  really Red Heart??
The variation I made on his was to make a ribbed neckline.  I made the rest very straight forward so he wouldn't feel uncomfortable wearing it.

Sweater #4:  This also went very fast, and I also used acrylic yarn, Red Heart Soft yarn.  This is for my 5 (soon to be 6) yr old grandson.  I figured he wouldn't mind a bit of decoration, so I ventured out and tried to add a cable down the front.  It went fast and I was so happy with how it turned out.

Both sweaters have been mailed out, so I'm hoping they fit and will be fun to wear for the boys!

     I started the first sweater at the end of September, and finished the fourth one November 21,  so this is a remarkably fast pattern with worsted weight yarn and large needles.
    If you are thinking of making a pullover or a cardigan and you haven't before, this just might be the pattern for you!
     I hope this sweater diary has helped you on your way!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not Much Knitting - I'm on Fire!

Kindle Fire, that is!  I am so happy to get my new gadget.  
And don't you like the cover?  I was looking through some and my dh said he thought I should have a red one.  I think it looks just like a book, an old worn out book that you just want to pick up and read.

It's a Verso cover, made just for the Kindle.

And what am I reading, you ask?  Amazon, using their powers of addiction, offered a number of 'serial' type books for free.  Just the first of the series actually.  I picked an innocent sounding, old fashioned mystery book called, "Still Life with Murder" by PB Ryan.  I was instantly into it and had to buy the 2nd, then the 3rd & 4th.  My daughter 'borrowed' them from me through Kindles  Kindle-to-Kindle lending program and then she was hooked and bought me the 5th as a gift.  (Ty, TL)  So she bought #6 and 'loaned' it to me.  I'm almost done with #5 and she's patiently waiting for it, so I guess I should finish up here  and read ....  

Next:  The newly finished butterick dress, and the 4 (yes 4) sweaters that have been finished.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes!

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I just loved watching this! I'm going to dig thru my scarf drawer and start playing!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yay! SFP's! (Satisfyingly Finished Projects)

Wow, Finally!  The Quilt is finished and gifted!  It's been a 4 year project, with intermissions, but a true project of love.  Here it is:

And I got it labelled: 

Yes, a real SFP with the highlight on Satisfying!

I've shown the progress on this in earlier posts so I am very proud to put the Finished Project Label on this.  See, the 15 minutes a day motto really works!

Off the needles:  Cody & Sole shopped for yarn in Ecuador for a gift for me and were dissappointed until they saw some women spinning.  They asked about yarn and the ladies sold them 3 wonderfully natural hanks of yarn 1 was still natural, the other 2 were dyed  but all 3 have generous amounts of lanolin in them.  I immediately started knitting a project out of the Fall, 2009 issue of Interweave Knits that I was waiting for just the right project.  Big Montana Tunic.  It knitted up fast and I now have yet another SFP:

I'm on a roll now for completing things and have already dug down into the UFO pile and pulled out 2 things.  One a bag already cut out for at least a year, and a 15 year old Granny Square baby blanket that needs some edging.  Do you think I can be done with these by next week?

Socks:  Yes, I have socks.  I started these in a Totally Tubular fashion, as I talked about before.  The exception is that I started toe up.  I cast on 5, in the wrap method that Cat Bordhi explained in "Personal Footprints".  I increased up to 24 on each needle, magic loop method.  I knitted the stockinette tube till I reached about 10 inches and did the Bremen Sock pattern I downloaded for free on Ravelry.  I knitted to about 14" and bound off.  Then I went back and added the heel placed according to my 'Footprint' on the cereal box.  I think this is going to be my favorite method of making socks.  The afterthought heel has fit well and looked good on each of the socks that I've made.  These socks fit me PERFECTLY!
 I am on a roll and will have more SFP's next time!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Newborns are so much fun to knit for!

Be Wise My Sons: I have just finished my 2 newborn sleep sacks for Jackson and Gideon!

These were made from the pattern by Teresa Cole published in her blog "Comfort Wool Blog".  It's called the 'Owlie Sleep Sack' and the 'Owlie Hat'.  The pattern is written out so nicely that even me, a cable needle newbie, could figure it out. 
The owl detail was fun to see working out on the needles:

The sacks were done on a size 7, 16" circular needle then to close the sack I switched to dpns (double pointed needles).  My first time using dpns.  It was a bit of a challenge to get things right, and I struggled a bit with them on the first sack, but I breezed thru on the 2nd.  The advice I would give on switching to the dpns is to switch in between markers not at the marker.  That seemed to work for me and to do 2 'owls' per dpn, 2 or so.  If you have an easier way, just let me know.  The closing off by drawing the yarn tail through the remaining stitches and pulling tight was great!  I did enjoy making the sacks.
The Hats:  I've never knitted a cap before so this was fun.  The owl pattern is reversed, and easy to do.  They are so cute and little! 

 The patterns are free at Ms. Cole's blog, so go ahead and try them!

Oh, and the name:  Be Wise my Sons.  That is from a scripture at Proverbs 27:11:  "Be wise my sons and make my heart rejoice, so I can make a reply to him that is taunting me." 
Since owls are considered wise, I thought this is a nice wish for these 2 newborn boys to grow up with - be wise!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Totally Tubular, Man!

Doesn't it seem like the word 'Man' needs to follow Totally Tubular?  Well that's my newest sock pattern - Totally Tubular by Samantha Roshak.  The pattern is only $2.00 and comes with video links.  It's kind of cool!  The premise is that you can knit a total tube from cuff to cuff, snip to unravel in half, then add a toe to each half, then add an afterthought heel.  It sounds complicated but it's very easy and a great sock to take along.  Here are my results:

 That one was for my daughter and I didn't get a picture before she headed back up north.  She did say tho, that she loved the feel of the heel - which is just a toe.  As you can see in this pair for my son-in-law, they look kind of funky with two toes, but they both say they are very comfortable!

Then I made another pair for my son.  On all these socks I borrowed from Cat Bordhi's book, 'Personal Footprints' the method of cutting out a pattern of their foot on the inside of a cereal box.  It's so nice to have that on hand to add the heel in the right place. 
All in all, I really do like this Totally Tubular way of making socks.  I like doing an afterthought heel.  The drawback was, though, that there are a lot of ends to weave in.  But, as I now am enjoying making contrasting heels and toes, there are a lot of ends to weave in doing that the traditional way, too. 
One thing that may help if you try to use this method.  The 2nd cuff.  Binding off a cuff needs to be very stretchy.  I used a method I saw in the Let's Knit 2gether video podcast.  It was in the March 2009 show.  I'm adding a link, but the website is http://www.letsknit2gether.com/  Here's the link I use:  http://letsknit2gether.com/2009/03/  I use the first one, but I'm not a very tight knitter.  She has a few to try, pick the one that suits you!
Behind the yarn:  This is my section of things I'm doing that don't use yarn.  I got a new gadget, or toy.  It's a Soda Stream Soda maker!  It carbonates water and you can make your own sodas.  I tried their brand of syrups to add to the soda water, but I wasn't super impressed.  I like to drink plain club soda with lime and this works great for that.  I can make it fresh and it doesn't lose it's fizz by sitting around in a big 2 liter bottle.  I also love GingerAle - the real stuff.  I found a great real GingerAle recipe online at http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/2008/how-to-make-your-own-ginger-beer/  .  I tried it, with first making his recipe for simple syrup, then using my juicer to make the ginger juice, and it was fantastic.  I'm a fan of Reed's Ginger Beer and I just hadn't found something I could make similar until now.  This GingerAle has just the 'bite' I was looking for and I love it!  If you like Ginger, then this recipe is for you.  All in all, again, I think my soda maker was a great buy and works well for us.