Tuesday, June 12, 2018

This Post Is NOT About Knitting

We have two family weddings coming up this summer and I just finished sewing a little silk purse for the first bride-to-be to carry at the reception. It's a gorgeous fabric that I really wanted to let speak for itself, but the purse did need a bit extra. Enter yo-yos.

These are just circles of fabric where a narrow hem is folded and secured with a running stitch; the thread is then pulled to gather the outside of the circle. Most yo-yo projects have a down-home look which I knew would be a jarring contrast to the fabric. Nevertheless, I tried making a few in the silk and added vintage buttons to the centers. The result absolutely blew me away!

There is no shortage of tutorials and project ideas floating around the Internet, so I'll just mention a few things I found helpful. If you have a good eye, you don't really need to mark the fold line, but I knew I would be happier if I did. I found that keeping the running stitch very close to the fold gave me better looking gathers. I knotted my thread ends together to gather up the fabric, then trimmed them not-too-close and added a drop of fabric glue. After it was dry, I trimmed them shorter. This doesn't seem to be the typical method, though, and the knot might show if there were no embellishment in the center.

Now, of course, I have to wonder about knit yo-yos. I have no doubt they can be made, but I don't know how practical they will be. Well, I'm going to find out!

Until then . . .

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Out-of-Sync Cable - Mirror Image

To the right is a picture of how the Out-of-Sync cable would look with its mirror image. It's really easy to flip a photo on a computer, and with many cables it's very easy to flip them in real life.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Out-of-Sync Cable

One of the reasons I started a blog was to revisit some of my early work. I've been knitting for almost 36 years, so some of it is very old. Some of it is in an obsolete medium called "pencil and paper." Some of it, text and graphics, was on - - I kid you not - -  a Commodore 64. Fortunately, I've been able to convert the text, but all those pictures need to be redrawn from scratch. This is going to take a while.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Inlay Knitting

In my last post, I mentioned "inlay knitting", the technique I will probably use with the art yarn I purchased at the Garden State Sheep Breeders annual festival. I thought I'd write a little more about it.

If you are familiar with stranded knitting (of which Fair Isle is a subset), you know that you carry two or more yarns and pick which one you want according to a charted design. Each yarn gets used for stitches. In inlay knitting, only the background yarn is knit; the other yarn(s) are held in front of or behind the background stitches as they are being made. In effect, it is a type of embellishment that you do at the same time as the actual knitting. The accent yarn is not used up at the same rate as the background yarn and it does not have to be pulled through other stitches. This makes it an ideal technique for getting the most out of expensive, eccentric, or delicate yarn. Also, even in plain yarns you get a pretty neat textural effect.

I always carry my knitting yarn in my right hand so I held the inlay yarn in my left. Then it was just a matter of bringing it forward and bringing it back. I did find it a bit easier to use the right needle to help push the inlay yarn into position rather than depending on my left hand alone.

For the pink and purple swatch, I just grabbed whatever was in the bottom of my knitting basket and worked a typical under and over pattern. I later read (in The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt) that the inlay yarn should be locked into the selvedge stitches. Since I hadn't done that on the first swatch, I didn't do it on the white and pink one either. You can see how the knitting pulls where the inlay yarn is carried up from row to row. It's not particularly bad and I do suspect that picking up stitches along the edges would hide the problem nicely.
But there is another reason to keep the inlay yarn out of the selvedge stitches: unlike plain stockinette, the side edges of inlay knitting come out perfectly flat. A narrow edging would be adequate in this situation and that should have some decorative potential. Unfortunately, the top and bottom edges do curl as in normal stockinette so they will need a more standard treatment.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Day Well-Spent

The Garden State Sheep Breeders annual festival was held this past weekend and my husband and I went on Saturday. We had absolutely splendid weather; sunny, warm, and breezy. That part of New Jersey completely defies the stereotype. It is bucolic with some old towns punctuating the road there. Granted, it's a stone's throw from outlet stores and what-have-you, but none of that matters when you're among 80+ exhibitors and lots of sheep!

So, what did I buy? The first purchase was a mere 20 yards of wool art yarn from Hope's Favorite Things. It's variegated in bright pastels, and look at all those whorls! It's hard to know what to do with such a small quantity, especially something so bumpy. My first thought was to find a beautiful hook and a place on the wall where I can look at it ALL THE TIME! On a more knitterly note, there is a technique, inlay knitting, which is somewhat similar to stranded knitting. In this case, however, the second yarn is not knit, but woven back and forth between the background stitches. This allows the inlay yarn to go much further and doesn't require trying to wrap the whorls around a knitting needle. It can be used as an accent on a plainer yarn.

The second purchase was from Taylored Fibers, a whopping 600 yard hank of 100% alpaca, not-quite red with a bumpy texture. It is on the table next to me as I type, and it makes me want to keep alpacas in the yard.

I also ran across a vendor I purchased from at Stitches West 2016, Cozy Rabbit Farms, now called Cozy Color Works. I didn't realize that she is located in New Jersey. She had little sample cards of her sock yarn. I can't wait to see how they knit up!

For those of you in the hurricane zones, please stay safe and well. My thoughts are with you.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jumbo Golf Club Cover

Family Portrait

The golf club covers were well received but, alas, not big enough for the largest of the clubs. To make the jumbo cover, I used the original pattern, modifying it with ten extra stitches and an extra pair of stripes. Perfect.

I also added a selvedge stitch to make picking up the stitches for the ribbing easier. Not so perfect - - I put it on the gathering edge rather than the ribbing edge. No harm done, of course, but this is why published patterns are test knit. I'm shaking my head at my mistake.

And, oh yeah, I "needed" and bought an even larger pom-pom maker. To speed up the work, I held two strands of yarn together for wrapping the form. It is more difficult to keep the wrapping even but the pom-pom still came out quite well.

I haven't had a request yet for covers for the smaller clubs, so I'm going to try to wrap up the next project I want to share with you. Until then . . .

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Take 2: I Never Thought I'd Make . . .

Sorry, everyone, somehow this post went out unfinished. Cheeky post. Here is the whole thing.

My youngest nephew has taken up golf and my sister asked me to make a couple of club covers in his school colors. You don't have to ask me twice. It turns out they're not a frivolous item - - pom-poms excluded - - but protect the club heads from damage. By some miracle, my local Michaels had Vanna's Choice in the correct colors and matching dye lots in sufficient quantities to make a set. Needless to say, I now have enough black and gold yarn for a set.

I was going to do my own design based on my cup cozy pattern, (and I still may - - after all I do have enough yarn for a set)  but I wanted to get a couple of them done quickly. I found these Swirl of Color covers on Ravelry. It's mostly an easy pattern as the body is knit flat and seamed. The ribbing is picked up along one edge and knit in the round. The pattern calls for binding off the ribbing with a much larger needle, but I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off  instead. This is an awesome technique, creating a tidy bind-off with remarkable stretch as you can see in the second photograph.

As it turns out, the pom-poms do serve a function, covering the gap that occurs when the top is gathered. I decided I needed new pom-pom makers (of course I did) and I picked one of the sets from Clover.

The set comes with complete instructions and there are numerous tutorials online, but I did come up with my own little twist. The pom-pom maker has two halves that are wrapped separately. Two halves equals two colors! Now, depending on where you tie the pom-pom, you can divide the colors differently. If you force the knot between the colors, as at the black arrow, you get a side-by-side division like the pom-pom to the left. If you force the knot to the side as at either of the gold arrows, you get a top and bottom division like the one to the right. Looking at that second pom-pom, I think it looks top-heavy. It might be worthwhile to wrap the bottom half a bit more fully than the top.

Okay, now I'm done! Until next time . . .