Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bonbori Curio

I love Curio for its dolman sleeves and wide ribbed band on the model.  Yet, I was not sure about the design when reviewing the schematic.  Looks too wide? 

 So, I tinkered on it.  This time, I was quite sure how I want to change it with the yarn I wanted to use.  The original uses Rowan Kidsilk Trio, very airy, soft and super light, yet bulky.  My yarn is Noro Bonbori, not airy at all.  It is definitely bulky and light.  Not super light, however.  So, the instruction of gathering the knitted fabric does not apply to my yarn. 


Changes made:
  • Cast on fewer stitches (78 stitches) and increased every 6 rows 6 times after switching to the stockinet stitch (90 stitches).  Once at underarm, the length of the gathered fabric was knitted, not the flat fabric.  Then, I decreased at each end to shape shoulders by casting off 4 stitches at the beginning of every row for 12 times, and 6 stitches two times, with 30 stitches left on the needle. 
  • Sleeves were knitted per instructions, except I did not cast off stitches at the end.  I grafted live stitches onto the bodice to reduce bulk.
  • For the assembly, I used half stitches for seam allowance in order to reduce the bulk of the seam.
I love the result.  It was a rather quick knit as well.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Katia Lace Pullover

I love this lace pattern.  Something different from other lace patterns I've knitted. 

The edging with double or triple strands worked well.

I think it might be very interesting when combined with stripes. 

Sewing Mojo

I have been struggling with motivation.  Not for knitting but for sewing.  Having had eye sight problems since January of this year has been one factor as sewing require good eyes.  But, I might be making that an excuse for my lack of motivation.  Well, I had frozen shoulders and that compromised me more than I can think of.  So, I just need to nudge myself back into sewing slowly.  I tend to think of sewing as one long and continuous process.  That is the major issue I need to amend.  I do not have such continuous time for myself.  I need to learn to feel comfortable with planning multiple steps into a sewing project.  I tend to get frustrated easily with sewing when I cannot accomplish intended tasks.  So, here we go.  I am going to take a few steps at a time in sewing. 

I have a beautiful black wool double knit for about 2 yards, probably a bit more.  I have been meaning to sew it into skirts.  I do not have warm black skirts.  I want something different than a simple tube skirt, a skirt with rectangle piece sewn together on center back seam and an elastic band casing at the top to go with.  So, what did I choose?  I purchased Christine Jonson's Pencil skirt pattern. 

The pattern package includes two long skirts, Pencil skirt and Slit skirt, both very stylish and with slits in the center back.  They have quite a lot of negative ease both at waist and hip.  And, they are for cotton lycra knit fabric with 100% recovery.   

I have enough fabric to make both Pencil and Slit skirts.  So far, so good.  Nor really.  Actually, it took me such a long time to decide on the pattern that I don't remember when I took out the fabric and decided that I need skirts.  It might have been a year ago or more.  Sigh. 

Next task, sizing.  Although my black wool double knit is not very thick, it does not have the recovery required by the pattern.  So, I chose one size larger for my measurements.  I shortened the skirt length by 4" and I made the hem width a bit wider for Slit skirt.  I was so indecisive and took me too long to make up my mind on sizing: a few days, on and off.  This indecisiveness makes me feel very unproductive and makes me feel like going back to knitting.  I had to fight it out by telling myself that I need black skirts.

I hope to find some time to cut the fabric this week: two to three hours for two to three skirts should be possible, right?  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lace Coat, Finished!

I undid all the edgings and re-worked them. 

It looks much better than before, don't you agree?

I made button holes in simple Tunisian fabric, by skipping a vertical bar going forward, and adding a chain on the way back.   I placed the button holes so that buttons are next to Tunisian stripes, not the broomstick lace stripes. 

I am so relieved that all my efforts did  not go to waste.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lace Coat from Vogue Crochet 2012

I have been working on design #37 Lace Coat by Lisa Daehlin from Vogue Knitting Crochet 2012 magazine. I finished the coat for now but I am not satisfied with the results. I will be working on it further, probably sometime later after figuring out what I need to do.

I used beautiful Lang Jawoll Magic yarn in 84-18, black and dark green mix. The yarn is very loosely plied, almost single to my eye.; I used 5.5 mm crochet hook and 25mm knitting circular needles mostly, but used a smaller hook for picking up loops.

What I like about the coat is the very lacy main fabric.  What I do not like is the front bands.  The neck and the bottom edgings are okay as they are, although I would like to have a bit firmer feel along the neck.  In order to re-do front bands, I will need to remove the neck band and the last row of the bottom band since they were applied after front bands were completed.  Bummer!   I am going to leave the coat on the dress form for now. 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Cautionary Tale on Knitting

Do you wash your swatch?

What you see above are two sleeves knitted exactly alike, but one of them was soaked in water thoroughly and dried.  See how much the yarn had relaxed?  Soaking in water did not affect the width in the above case, but the length was increased by about 20%. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Broomstick and Tunisian Lace

Light weight and lacy fabric in dark green and black.
Love it! 

There are forums on Ravelry where this lace coat project is discussed.  They are so helpful.  I highly recommend reading them all before starting the project.  I was buffled with the instructions on sleeves initially.  With some logical thinking and reading posts by trailblazing Ravelrers I am feeling confident in finishing this project.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Projects

Harris pullover with pockets from Rowan Magazine #52.  This issue of Rowan Magazine has so many designs I love.  This project is the third one from it.  What I like about this pullover include pockets and single row stripes. 

However, knitting it turned out to be a challenge.  See the tangle on the photos below.  I find myself getting frustrated with the tangle after 10 rows or so.  This is going to be a slow project.  Hence, I had to come up with a simpler second project.

A lace pullover from Katia Magazine #52 is my simpler project.  I’ve had this project sitting in the bin next to my armchair for a while.  It is knitted with a cotton yarn: i.e. a summer project.  Nevertheless, it will be my simpler project. 

Instructions on Katia Magazines are a bit different from others: each row is charted as you face them.  Stockinet stitches are charted with blank cells for odd rows (knit) and with dashed cells for even rows (purl), while garter stitches are charted with blank cells on both odd and even rows.  In Japanese knitting books, stockinet and garter stitches are charted in completely opposite manner (all cells blank for stockinet).  Once you realize that, it is okay.  But not always.  For this particular design, Katia's charting method does not seem to work well.  I had to replace k2tog done on reverse row to p2tog or p2tog tbl.  I could discern these errors by inspecting the photograph.  I am knitting a sleeve first.

I learned a new cast on technique in this Katia project.  See the photo above.  The main lace stitches are knitted with 4.5 mm or 5.5 mm needles, while cast on stitches were done with 6.5 mm and with three strands of yarns held together.  I used 7 mm needles as I do not have 6.5 mm ones.  With this method, you can plunge into the lace pattern from row 1 and there is no curling. 

An extra project in preparation for #37 from Vogue Crochet Magazine from 2012, involving broomstick stitches.  Since I was not certain about how to do broomstick lace, I bought Doris Chan's Crochet Lace Innovations.  I love this book for three reasons: broomstick lace instructions and designs, hairpin lace instructions, and her foundation single crochet stitches.   I am working on Soolin belt from her book.  The bottom photo shows the foundation single crochet stitch.  It is much nicer and stable than chain stitches. 

That’s all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tunisian Crochet Lace Tunic

It is finally finished and I just love it.  Jojoland Melody is a light and beautiful yarn, and turned out to be just perfect for this tunic.  What a luck!  Can you tell how happy I am with the tunic?  I like the length of the bodice as well as the sleeves. 

 I deviated from the pattern and did the following:
Sleeves: Cast on 78 stitches (must be a multiple of 3) for 16 ½” long sleeves. Sleeves were knit sideway. The Tss and Tps edge was about 1” long. To knit 15” wide sleeves, 28 rows in pattern stitches were needed. On the 28th row, do Tss on return, and follow with 3 rows of Tps for the edging.  I left the remaining yarn on each sleeve, to be used later in assembly.  I used one ball per sleeve.
Front and Back Bodice: Cast on 117 stitches and knit 40 rows in pattern (19 ½”), reducing to 99 stitches over the 40 rows (reduce 3 stitches at each end every 10 rows starting at row 11, three times total, 18 stitches decreased). Place a marker at each side at 40th row for the sleeve placement. Knit 16 more rows (7 ½”). On the last row, do Tss on return followed by three rows of Tps for the edging.
Assembly: Seam bodice together with right sides together from the bottom edge to the marker. Seam bodice and sleeves together with right sides together, making sure the attached yarn of the sleeves will be at the cuff end. With the attached yarn on the sleeves, knit top edge finishing as instructed. With the same yarn, knit the sleeve cuff edging. Instead of buttons, I used chain stitches in zigzag pattern to close the top of the sleeves and shoulders.  I borrowed this method from Madonna pullover I knit this summer. 

More photos of close up and the on-the-table flat photos.

This was my first successful crochet project.  I think I will do more crochet in the future.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Striped tank top

My extreme striped tank top was finished last week.   It is already washed and dried and on my dress form. 

I like skinny shoulder seams.

Armhole shaping worked rather well.

Here is what I did to knit the tank top.
Front and Back a like: 
  • Cast on 107 stitches with Azure and knit 4 rows in garter stitches.  Switch to Imperial Purple and start the zigzag pattern.  When 4” completed from the hem, start side shaping at Row 33 of zigzag pattern: i.e. the fifth row at (A on the color sequence table): decrease one stitch at each end every 8 rows for four times, and increase one stitch at each end every 8 rows for four times.  Continue through Row 102 (Parchment).  Remember to switch zigzag pattern every 18 rows.
  • Armhole Shaping: On the first row at (B), start armhole shaping as follows.  Cast off 7 stitches at the beginning of Row 103 and 104.  Starting with Row 105, decrease 1 stitch at each end of every right side row for 14 times total (65 stitches remain).
  • Continue with the zigzag pattern through Row 150.  With Imperial Purple, knit in garter stitch for five rows, and cast off knit-wise loosely.  Cut off the yarn leaving about 8".
The front and the back pieces were connected by armhole edging only: pick up stitches along the front and then continue to pick up stitches from the back armhole in Azure (make sure to pick up stitches tightly) and cast off knit-wise.  I picked up seven cast off stitches and one stitch per row on the vertical section.  Using the yarn end in Imperial Purple, sew together the end stitches on the last row on the front and the last row on the back.  Clean up the yarn ends (which was a lot of work).

In all, I used about 200 grams or 600 yards of Allegoro yarns.  I love the result very much and would like to knit a dress version next summer.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hats for Veterans 2013

This year I have four hats for Veterans knitted up.  I used two free patterns from Ravelry: Urchin by Ysolda Teague and Tick Tock Toque by Knot Canadian.  Both of them were fun to knit. 

Urchin hats were knitted with Brown Sheep's Lamb's Pride Bulky in Clematis and Lang Yarns' Malou.  Both yarns are soft but Malou is so nice against skin.  I hope whoever gets it will enjoy wearing it.  Tick Tock Toque hats were knitted with leftover Rowan Colourscape yarns.  I was pleasantly surprised that I had enough leftovers for two hats.  I call them cup cake hats.  The top part looks like icing, doesn't it? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Louisa Harding Booklet 126

Phil was finished last Sunday.  It is from Louisa Harding Booklet #126. 

As I wrote earlier, I love many designs from this booklet besides Phil: Bertie in red/purple stripes and Jamie in green.  I am planning to knit these two garments next spring.

Changes made in Phil:
  • Sleeves: Casting on 57 stitches for the lace edge pattern was okay (2 rows in Confiture and the rest in Noir), but it was way too wide for a sleeve: 32 cm wide.  So, on the second row in the striped section (in Confiture), stitches were reduced by 15 to 42 by: (k2, ssk) five times, (k1, ssk) six times, (k2, ssk) four times, and k3.  Also, I changed the striped pattern a little: 2 rows Confiture, 1 row Berries, (4 rows Noir, 1 row Berries, 2 rows Confiture, 1 row Berries), and repeat (..).  When Berries was used for the first time, I started knitting at the left edge facing the wrong side.  This was done so that the rest of the color changes occur on the right edge of the sleeve.  At the same time, increase at each end of the sleeve by 1 stitch every 5 rows starting at row 8 (first one in Berries).  Knit 59 rows total in the stripe pattern, ending with Berries.
  • Back and front: The stripe pattern was changed just like for sleeves: 2 rows Confiture, 1 row Berries, (4 rows Noir, 1 row Berries, 2 rows Confiture, 1 row Berries), and repeat (..).  On row 18 in Confiture, do eyelet pattern.  Knit total of 67 rows, ending with Berries.
  • Yoke: Initially I knitted the yoke in round.  I did not like the area where yarns were changed.  It looked very sloppy.  So, I ripped all the yoke, added two extra stitches for seams, and knitted back and forth.  I did 44 rows in the specified pattern instead of 40 rows.  On the last four rows, I reduced extra 8 stitches, ending with 110 stitches (plus two edge stitches).

I think the person who prepared the samples for the magazine photos knitted them rather loosely.  My yarnovers did not produce large holes like you see in the photo.   That contributed to my needs to add more rows. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Phil by Louisa Harding

When we drove to Western Mass to pick up our DDs from their camp in August, we stopped by at WEBS and I picked up a couple of booklets by Louisa Harding.  In them, there are striped Summer/Spring garments featuring Colline and Mila yarns.  I am a nut with stripes, you may have noticed.  I particularly liked Phil and saw it in red and black in my mind.  It so turned out Colline comes in black as well as bright colors.  That was it.  I had to knit it with Noir and Confiture.  Now the third color to be placed between black and red.  My initial thought was as white as possible: i.e. Lily which is very pale pink.  It did not work out.  In the end I chose Berries among green, orange, pale pink and the chosen wine. 


The entire garment is knitted with reverse stockinette stitches with some lace pattern at the lower edges.  I am done with the sleeves (top two pieces).  The Left sleeve shows the right side, while the right one is with the reverse side up.  The instruction had me knit sleeves without any side shaping and the lower edges looked a bit too wide on the slender model.  So, I reduced the stitch count right after the lace edging.  Oh, I chose to do the version with elbow length sleeves and made them a bit longer.  I must confess I love many of the garments on this booklet. 

Unlike some of my typical projects with no concern for practicality, this pullover will be worn with a black bottom which I have several.  

Update on my extreme stripe project.  I did cast on and knitted some 30 rows.  So far, so good.  I think I need to add side shaping.  TBC.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Denim Dawn

I had six balls of Rowan Denim and thought I had enough to make Dawn.   I was right, but could well have been wrong.   When sewing was done, I had about 8” of yarn left. Phew! Taking Denim’s shrinkage into account, I lengthened the bodice by 8 rows in the front, and only 4 rows in the back.  The back turned out shorter because I ran out of the yarn to make it as long as the front.   This difference did not matter much, however. The cardigan before washing had some blousing as you can see in the photos below.

I was a bit worried about a possible disaster, but I went ahead and washed the garment in hot water and machine dried.

Can you see how much it has shrunken and all the blousing is gone?   The cardigan looks more like the yellow version with Fable.  Faded color is really lovely as well. It is unfortunate I discover my love for this yarn this late. Why did I not try Rowan Denim before it got discontinued?

Also, I found a way to wear the Madonna pullover. After so much work got into this pullover, I had to find a way. 


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Extreme Stripes

Ravelry is a fantastic source of inspiration for me.  Among many knitters on it, Julia's work is truly spectacular and she posted a gorgeous sleeveless top with Missoni-like colors and knit pattern.  I am so inspired by her.  She used Aria by Lana Grossa which is a light weight DK or sports weight as it has more than 180 yards per 50g ball and has a tape construction.  Her color choice was motivated by Tenerife Island's flowers, cacti, and soil.  Just a gorgeous top she designed.  If you are on Ravelry, you can follow this link to see what I mean.

I am going to use CEY’s Verde Collection Allegoro in five colors, two balls each: Imperial Purple (red), Raw Umber (orange/brown), Skydiver (light blue), Parchment (ivory), and Azure (dark blue).  With the stripe pattern below and 2 ½ pattern repeats per front or back (105+2 stitches each), I will get 35” circumference, which is perfect!

Extreme Zigzag Pattern: 42-stitch by 36 row repeats:

Row 1: k21, *yo, k9, knit 3 tog with center back, right on top (slip1 as if to knit, k2tog, slip the slipped stitch over k2tog), k9, yo, k21 *, repeat from * to *.
Row 2: p21, ** p2, p1 into the bar before the next stitch, p7, purl 3 tog with center front, left at back (p2tog, rearrange the next stitch so that the right leg is in the back, slip it over the p2tog), p7, p1 into the bar before the next stitch, p2, p21 **, repeat from ** to **.
Repeat Row 1 and Row 2 eight more times with total of 18 rows.
Row 19: *yo, k9, knit 3 tog with center back, right on top (slip1 as if to knit, k2tog, slip the slipped stitch over k2tog), k9, yo, k21 *, repeat from * to *.
Row 20: ** p2, p1 into the bar before the next stitch, p7, purl 3 tog with center front, left at back (p2tog, rearrange the next stitch so that the right leg is in the back, slip it over the p2tog), p7, p1 into the bar before the next stitch, p2, p21**, repeat from ** to **.
Repeat Row 19 and Row 20 eight more times with total of 36 rows completed.

Color sequence and row numbers (total of 92 rows) are shown below.  At least this is my plan. 

I cannot wait to cast on for a swatch!