Friday, January 12, 2018

Happy 2018!

Since it's still the first half of January, I figure it's not too late to wish you all a happy 2018! This slightly surreal photo was taken at the top of Mission Peak on my new year's day hike. It's actually very crowded at the peak, but looking over the top and into the fog and clouds makes it look other-worldly.

The next photo is my work-in-progress for the first sweater of 2018. The pattern is Flaum, and I love the simple modern look of this sweater. It also has a very interesting construction which makes the fronts slant inward and have a shorter length than the back. I'm knitting this with Valley Yarns Mount Holyoke, which is 100% cashmere -- I repeat, 100% cashmere. I'm starting the year right by knitting the most expensive sweater I've ever attempted. I sure hope it comes out okay! I did buy it during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend when WEBS offered a 20% discount. It's going to be slow progress for the rest of the sweater because the lower body is done in fisherman's rib, but I should finish sometime in February. I might make it a bit longer than the pattern's length, and I'll omit the pockets. Several ravelry knitters mentioned that the pockets were a bit droopy, and I tend to agree.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Vogue V8629

I finished this dress a couple of months ago and have worn it a few times and love it. It's from Vogue patterns V8629, which is now out-of-print. I really love this pattern because it's so easy to sew and very comfy and easy wearing. I sewed the no-sleeve version and omitted the pockets which meant that there were only three, count 'em, three, pieces to cut! The side seams curve inward for waist shaping and you can easily adjust them to get the fit you want. The pleats at the upper yoke provide a good fit at the bust line. I originally wanted to make the sleeved version because this is a winter dress, but I didn't have enough of this fabric which was left over from a skirt I made earlier. This is just as well, since I love wearing it with a lightweight black layer underneath. Unfortunately, the black makes it hard to see pleats in the photo and my black top looks blended in.

Some time ago, I made this pattern with a stretch woven but it just didn't work because the fabric didn't stretch enough and the dress was too loose because I needed the ease to fit it over my head. If you make this, choose a mid-weight knit that's more on the heavy side with a good moderate stretch. My fabric has two-way stretch, but one-way stretch would have been fine. In this case, the two-way stretch enabled be to cut the dress cross-wise because the border design is on the selvedges.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Simple warmer weather sweater

The weather is cooler now, but I did get a chance to wear this earlier in the month when it was quite warm. This is a no-pattern sweater that is just a simple shape with a lacy front yoke and a lacy rectangle on the back. I call the back section my "ventilation panel" because it makes the sweater comfortable in warm weather. The yarn is Zooey by Juniper Moon. It's 60% cotton and 40% linen. This is a comfy yarn for summer, but at 5 sts/inch, it can still be a bit warm because of the thickness of the garment, so the open panel is great.

I've decided that this simple shape works well for me for summer knits. It's not quite sleeveless but cool enough. It has about zero ease at the bustline, so it's almost but not quite fitted. There's enough drape with the cotton/linen to keep it comfy. I can use this sweater template for many styles by varying stitch patterns on the yoke, front, back, etc. Here are my notes on this particular sweater:

  • It's essentially knit as two rectangles with decreases and increases for some gentle waist shaping.
  • I increased one stitch at each side of the front and back at the point where the armhole starts. This marks the spot and also makes it easier to finish off the armholes.
  • I made the neckline as a wide crew, where the front neckline starts about 1" lower than the back.
  • The shoulders are slanted with short rows and 3-needle bind off joins the front and back. I believe I had 4 wrap and turns on each shoulder.
  • The front yoke lace section starts about 1.5" after the armhole starts.
  • The back open section starts about 2 rows after the armhole starts.
  • This particular lacy pattern is a looser gauge than the stockinette. For the front yoke, I used one needle size smaller. I used the same size for the back rectangle since it's only 1/3 the width. The top neckline bind-off keeps it scrunched in.

Here's the simple lace pattern, without including any selvedge stitches:
Row 1: k2tog, yo, repeat to end
Row 2: p
Row 3: yo, ssk, repeat to end
Row 4: p

I need to mention that for some reason, this yarn causes a ton of biasing. Since I knit the top as two pieces, the side seams keep the biasing in check. I have 3 more balls of this yarn in another color and I might try another top with the same shape. If I do, I'll do something besides all stockinette for the body and perhaps the biasing won't be so bad. All in all, I'm very happy with this top.

BTW -- There's still time to comment on my magazine giveaway.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Magazine giveaway

My cowl knitting pattern was recently published in the Winter Knitscene. I posted a photo of my cowl here. I hadn't received a free issue from the publisher, so I went and bought my own copy. The day after I bought it, I received my free issue! Since I have an extra issue, I'm giving it away to you, my gentle readers. All you have to do is leave some kind of comment (any thing like a simple hello will do) along with some way that I can find you to contact you, such as a ravelry id, and submit it no later than 11:59PM Sunday November 5, PST. The winner will be randomly selected.

In addition to my own pattern, this issues features quite a few easy colorwork patterns as well other cozy knits for winter.

Friday, October 20, 2017

My cowl pattern is in publication - woohoo!

I submitted a pattern for this cowl to Knitscene back in March and it was accepted for publication. The Winter 2017 issue is out, along with my pattern! Here is the ravelry link. It's named "Hoppers Cowl" and is a very simple colorwork cowl that uses slipped stitches to achieve the pattern. Each round is knitted in one color and there are no extra loose ends to weave it. it's quite cozy and takes up about one ball of each color of worsted weight yarn. I hope you'll give it a gry!

This is my second published pattern. The first was also a cowl for Knitscene and it was for winter, 2013. At this rate, I should be publishing another pattern 4 years from now!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sewing: Vogue V8574

Summer is over but I think I can still get some wear out of this dress because there are always warm days in October here in the SF bay area. This is Vogue V8574. I used a medium weight printed twill-like cotton that has a bit of stretch. I really like the print that is sort of tropical with the palm trees, but not too tropical in the color.

I love the fit of this dress, but adjusting the fit was a bit more work than usual. With many patterns, I can sew it up and adjust some side seams or princess seams or some darts afterwards to get the perfect fit. With this pattern, the bodice has to be sewn together with the lining and attached to the neck band before it can be tried on, so I ended up having rip apart more of the underarm area to adjust the width. The skirt flares out so the fitting there isn't critical. What is critical is the opening of the in-cut "armhole". It has to fit without any unseemly gaping at the upper side bust area. I ended up adding a tiny slanted dart in front just above the side seam to get a close fit.

I cut away about 3/8" at the neckline so my neckband is narrower and the neck opening is wider. The skirt is not lined. For the bodice lining, I used some lightweight crinkled cotton gauze fabric. Crinkled gauze is slightly stretchy, as long as you don't iron out the crinkles before using it. It's also very lightweight and I love cotton linings.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Knited T-Shirt

It seems like it's been awhile since I posted about a finished knitting object. This one took a bit longer than I expected, probably because it's summer and I've been spending more time designing and doing in-person sales of my 3D printed jewelry at a few crafty events. (Tiny Right Brain Designs)

Anyhow, this sweater fits and wears like a t-shirt, which I really like, The pattern is based on the Marie Wallin Jumo design. It's on tbe cover of the Rowan Softyak Collection book, and I really liked the look of it. However, when I swatched the lace pattern, I found that it was just too busy a design for me. I decided to use a simple textured pattern based on the half-twisted ribbing in which I alternated the knit and purl positions every four rows. I used the same half-twisted ribbing for the bottom and trims.

Sizing wise, my version is much shorter than the pattern's length, which is almost a tunic. I did my own sizing for the width and added some waist shaping. I made my neckline wider since I don't like narrow crew necklines. I do love the little hole detail in the front.

My yarn is Knit One Crochet Too Batiste, which is a great merino/linen/silk blend. I bought several sweaters' worth in different colors when I found sale prices. I don't know if it's being discontinued or not. It's a bit warm to wear now, but it's a great yarn for spring.fall and milder winter days. I think I'll be wearing this sweater a lot once the weather gets cooler.