Monday, December 9, 2013

FO: Cornhusk vest

This pattern is a vest version of the Cornhusk pullover. The yarn is Heirloom Cashmino, which I've had in my stash for several years. I knew I didn't have enough yarn for the full sweater so I omitted the sleeves. I also lowered the top stitch pattern a bit because I wanted a lower shaped neckline. I finished the neckline and armholes with the same ribbing pattern as on the bottom.

I like the stitch pattern of the sweater, but the the sweater seems to be stretching even as I wear it. Luckily, I think it only stretches in length so I'm okay if it turns into a tunic. I knitted it as flat front and back pieces as I like to do, so the side seams should limit the amount of stretching. I don't know that I love sweaters knitted with small gauge yarns in a bigger-than-recommended gauge -- they always seem to feel a bit too loose when worn. I could have knitted this with much more negative ease, but then I'm afraid it might look too oddly stretched out.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

FO: Colonnade Jacket

This is the Colonnade Jacket from Interweave Knits Summer 2013. I knitted this as a winter jacket, using Fibranatura Sensational, a washable merino worsted weight yarn, now discontinued. I really like the finished garment because the yarn has a nice firm feel but also drapes nicely. It was a bit annoying to knit with because half the skeins had knots. The bottom edge is just stockinette, but it stays flat after blocking with a steam iron.

I made some sizing and shaping changes to fit my needs, and I decided to make the front patterns symmetrical, making the right symmetrical with the left because the left side does not have holes on the front edge. I also opted for just plain stockinette on the sleeve cuffs, mainly because I couldn't find a stitch pattern repeat that resulted in a suitable cuff size. The dark navy yarn makes it hard to see the pattern so here's a closeup.

One reason I like to make symmetrical fronts for this type of cardigan is that it doesn't matter which stitch pattern row is the last row of the back bands. As long as the left and right bands end on the same row, you can graft them together and it would look like a nice mirror image. In this case, I was lucky enough to have the bands end on last row of the stitch pattern, which makes it especially nice at the seam.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yarn Installation

A new yarn bombing installation has appeared downtown in celebration of the holidays. I can neither confirm nor deny any involvement in this installation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fingerless mitts knitted in the flat

I like to knit and wear fingerless mittens but they seem to take way longer to knit than they should. The main reason is that I have to knit a small item in the round, which I hate doing and it's always slow going fussing with the needles no matter which method I use. For this latest pair, I decided after knitting one mitten to just do the other mitten as a flat knit. This took a lot less time. I added extra selvedge stitches and the mitten is seamed on the outside edge. Here it is before seaming.

And, here is the finished pair. I'm probably going to knit all of them that way from now on.

Monday, October 14, 2013

FO: Humboldt non-raglan

This is Humboldt Raglan from Knitscene, spring 2013. I didn't want long sleeves for a spring/summer sweater, so I decided to turn it into a mild dolman shaped sweater. After completing this top, I decided that I really like the easy fit of this type of sweater. It works especially well if the yarn has a lot of drape and the gauge is at least 5 stiches/inch. The yarn for this sweater is Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima, which is probably my favorite all-cotton yarn. It's really soft, has great drape, and seems very durable.

I kept the main features of the pattern but did my own sizing and shaping, and I love the end result. It's very comfortable to wear. When the weather is colder, it can be layered over a thin top.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I've been published!

I have a knitting pattern that has been published in the Knitscene Winter 2013 issue! My pattern is the Manganese Cowl.

I knitted myself a version of this cowl in March and I decided on a lark to see if I could get the pattern published somewhere. Knitscene was accepting submissions for Winter 2013, so I sent in a swatch and a description, and lo and behold, it got accepted. My original name for it was "Egg carton cowl" because that's what the stitch pattern looks like.

I'm afraid I might be a one-hit wonder as far as designing knitwear goes. I like to improvise my own sweater patterns, but I don't think I'll ever have the patience to learn sizing and try to write up the patterns. If I get another interesting cowl idea, I might try submitting a pattern again.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I went to Paris and all I knitted was...

One cowl

and 2/3 of one fingerless mitt

I thought would have knitted at least two cowls, but I guess airplane knitting goes slower than I thought. In the meantime, here are some photos from my trip to the City of Light.

A classic view from the top of the Arc De Triomphe looking down over the Champs-Élysées. Everyone takes one of these shots.

Pastries! These are from the ever-so-famous Ladurée pastry shop. I didn't buy any fancy pastries, but I did get some macarons.

This is a fountain next to the Centre Pompidou. Every one of those art pieces squirts water in one way or another.

The stained glass windows in Saint Chapelle.

The view from the Eiffel Tower at the top.

Here I am standing in front of the mother ship Louis Vuitton store. No, I didn't buy anything. I did go in and look around though. If you're a Louis Vuitton fan, it's definitely worth a visit.

A steam punk dude

Shopping in the ever-so-trendy Marais neighborhood. We stayed off of Place Bastille, which is on the eastern border of Le Marais.

A ginormous line waiting for take-away (ooh, I just said "take-away" instead of "take-out") at what must be the most popular falafel shop in Paris. This is in the Jewish Quarter which is in Le Marais. This was on Sunday, which is a very happening day in the Marais neighborhood. This also happened to be on the Sunday after Yom Kippur so I don't know if that added to the crowds or not.

Walking along the Promenade plantée

Jardin du Luxembourg

A view from the sixth floor of the Galleries Lafayette department store. (It's free!)

And of course, the Eiffel Tower

Paris is lovely, but not nearly as lovely as portrayed in Woody Allen movies. I re-watched Midnight In Paris on the return flight and I liked it better this time around. I don't know if it's because I just left Paris or because I was stuck on a plane with nothing else to do. I'm happy I didn't develop Paris Syndrome!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

FO: Step Function Cardigan

This sweater is more or a less a basic worsted weight cardigan with an uneven hemline. I had this concept of knitting something like a high-low hemline that is so popular right now, but I thought I would try knitting it with discrete steps instead of a smooth transition. Hence the name of "step function cardigan". The yarn is Malabrigo worsted weight merino wool, which is one of my favorites.

I used a simple two-stitch lace pattern that matches up with where the hemline changes happen. I used that same pattern on the sleeves. The sweater was knit in the round for the body and separated out as front and back pieces at the armholes. This is unusual for me since I like to knit flat pieces and seem them, but in this case I really didn't want a seem on the side where the lace pattern travels.

I really like how the back looks, but I'm not sure about the front, mainly because it's at least inch shorter than I would like. I could have gone with a longer front and even longer back. It's a bit warm now to wear this, but colder weather will come sooner or later and I give the sweater a better test drive then.

Knitting tip:

This sweater has a lot of edges that are K2-P2 ribbing. For all the end pieces that start with K2 or end with K2, I would do a K3 and also slip the first K or P stitch when starting the row. That way, the first K1 ends up rolled under a bit, but remaining 2 knit stitches show to match the rest of the ribbing. If you just do one knit stitch, it tends to roll under and the end pieces would look just like K1 instead of K2.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sewing FO: New Look 6144

This is New Look 6144, sewn with a linen/cotton print from Jo-Ann. The pattern does not call for a lining, and this fabric is medium weight so it doesn't need a lining for a summer dress. I wanted some sort of contrast at the shoulder but I couldn't find any contrasting solid or print that I liked, so I purchased some very lightweight mesh lace fabric and used that as an overlay over the print. I'm very happy with the resulting look.

This pattern is really easy to sew and make fit. The shape and size can be easily adjusted with the side seams and the center darts. The pleats at the neckline give the dress a little bit of ease above the bust line, which makes it really comfortable in warm weather. I love this dress and it's gotten quite a bit of wear since finishing it a few weeks ago.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FO: Patou tunic

This is the Patou tunic from Knitscene Spring 2013. My yarn is Cascade Cash Vero DK. I put a bit of waist shaping into the sweater and I made the neckline a bit narrower since I don't like sweaters that fall off my shoulders. I also made the armholes a bit narrower. For the front panel stitch pattern, I alternated the direction of the shells. I didn't do it for the style -- I was worried that having all the shells facing one way might cause some biasing and uneven stretching in the front panel after some wear.

I'm very happy with this tunic. The weather is too warm for it right now, but fall is coming. The color is a spring/summer color, but I'll wear it in the fall and winter anyway. I think it will be perfect for wearing on a long plane ride that I will be taking in the near future. Maybe it will he;[ me look chic as I'm drooling while sleeping with my head slumped over my chest!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sewing FO: V1329

This is Vogue Patterns V1329, a Kay Unger design. I didn't sew this pattern with the color blocking look -- I just decided to go with one print fabric. This is a linen/cotton blend from Jo-Ann's. I really like linen/cotton blends because the linen has a great texture and cotton prevents it from wrinkling as much as pure linen does. I lined the dress with a turquoise cotton lawn fabric that I purchased from Denver fabrics online.

I really liked this pattern when I first saw it, but I wasn't sure it would fit right because I didn't believe that having the waist line pleats on just one side in front would provide good bust line shaping and ease. It actually worked out very well, and it's one of the best fitted woven fabric dresses that I've sewn for myself. It has a fitted shape with but enough ease to make it comfortable, especially for casual summer wear. In fact, it will be perfect for my summer garden party.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

FO: Dolman sweater

This sweater is based on the High Relief Dolman from knit.wear spring 2013. I've been wanting to try knitting some of these more boxy pullover styles. I had the Cascade Pima Tencel yarn in my stash for ages, and each of the two colors was not enough for a full sweater. The yarn is really drapey (is that a word?) to the point of being droopy so I figured it would be great for this pattern. I made mine a little narrower than the smallest size, so it has a less pronounced dolman look. I also created a lower neckline because I don't like necklines that cut across my neck. For the top part, I did a simple 2x2 diagonal rib pattern.

I'm happy with the end result. The cotton yarn and the colors are great for spring and summer. It's a loose fit, but the draping prevents it from looking bulky.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FO: Whiteness of the Whale

This is Whiteness of the Whale by Ann Weaver. My yarn is Simply Shetland Silk & Lambswool, which is a tweedy blend of silk and wool. It's very lightweight and perfect for the cooler days of spring and summer. The best part of this sweater is the back -- I love scallop-like stitch pattern. I made mine a bit shorter by eliminating one of the scallop patterns. I added on about 1.5" after the last scallop and flattened the curve by doing my decreases next to the yarn-overs. I also changed the placement of the bottom hem cables. I only did two on the back and one on each front. The back ones are located at the edges of the last scallop.

There are other pattern mods here and there. I used a provisional cast-on for the shoulders so that I could use 3-needle bind-off to attach them. I narrowed the shoulders a bit and made other sizing adjustments. For the bottom and sleeve hems, I did four rows of purl stitches and bound off in purl and just let the edges roll inward. I wanted a sturdier front edge so I applied a 5-stitch I-cord and left openings for the small button holes. I only wanted buttons on the top front and my sleeves are 3/4 length.

I'm very pleased with the end result. This might turn out to be one of my favorite lightweight cardigans.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sewing FO: Vogue v1352

This is Vogue Patterns V1352, and it's a great summer dress. I wanted to make this as soon as I saw the pattern, even though I think it sort of looks like a nightgown as it is shown on the pattern envelope. The pattern recommends a knit fabric, but I wasn't going there because I figured that it would just look too droopy with a knit. Also, I didn't want the long length, which probably contributes to the nightgown look. Instead, I used a linen-cotton fabric to give it a crisper look, and I shortened the pattern to knee length. The fabric is fairly lightweight, so I lined just the skirt with some cotton lawn cloth. I made the smallest size and I gathered the neckline a bit more to bring it in. The only surprise about the fit was that the waistline came up higher than I expected. From the pattern photo, it looked like it might be loo low. Perhaps using a knit would have made it fall lower.

I love this dress because it's really easy to wear and ultra comfortable in warm weather. It sews up really fast because it only has five pattern pieces. The most annoying part of the sewing was gathering up the neckline to fit within the neckline band.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scenes from the Maker Faire

I finally went to a Maker Faire this weekend. It's been on my bucket list to attend one. I know, it's not an exciting bucket list item, but sometimes you get that. This one is held in San Mateo, California, and it is indeed chock full of interesting show-and-tell.
Here's some sort of ginormous Lego ship

And here's a Lego microscope

I should have taken a video of this one -- the fish and lobsters all move

The stuff on the wall are hangers. The stuff on bottom is made of rolled up masking tape

These are air filled and blown

Paper clothing (I wonder what happens if you get wet?)

Crafty zone -- there was some knitting and spinning in this area

More of the hanger art