Updates from July, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • knitting1105 9:43 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    What to talk about? 

    How do you keep a blog interesting when you are working on a boring sweater, that seems to go on interminably, and you don’t even like.  I am still working on my Featherweight Sweater.  I keep kicking myself for purchasing this pattern.  Word to the wise, just pick out a standard raglan sleeve sweater and do a gauge swatch with lace yarn on a larger needle (I used a size 7) and go.  The concept of a very light sweater with lace yarn is great, just don’t waste money on purchasing a pattern, and be prepared for lots and lots of stockinette. (Photo taken on top of a lovely table runner that my mother crocheted for me).

    I am making this with Malabrigo lace, so went to Ravelry to see comments on the sweater.  I looked at reviews of Malabrigo lace, and saw lots of negativity.  Yes it sticks a bit, but not to the extent that was written about.  I had to write my own personal review, as it seems that only the complainers write.  That led me to look at the reviews for Baby Ull by Dale of Norway.  This is my favorite baby yarn, and I love to use it for mittens.  It is really a workhorse, and washes well.  So, I was very surprised to see reviews about how it felted.  I am not sure that you could felt this yarn if you tried, let alone just by working with it.  So, again I wrote a glowing review, and this got me to thinking about what makes a wool superwash.  I must admit that I really only use superwash for socks, baby items and mittens.  For a sweater, I want as natural of fibers as I can get.

    I found this explanation on Aboutknitting.com that was the best description:

    Superwash wool is a special wool product that has been treated or processed in a way that allows it to be machine washable. Many people are afraid to work with wool because it is so easy to shrink (though some of us shrink wool on purpose) and superwash wool can allow them to work with great fibers without worry.

    Superwash wool is a wonderful choice if you like natural fibers but are giving something as a gift and don’t want to burden the recipient with a garment they have to handwash.

    So how is superwash wool made? It can be made using an acid bath that removes the “scales” from the fiber, or it can be made by coating the fiber with a polymer that basically keeps the scales from being able to join together and cause shrinkage.

    You probably won’t know which method was used on your superwash wool when you buy it in the store, but you might be able to tell when you start knitting. That’s because polymer-coated yarn tends to be slicker than regular wool.

    To care for superwash wool, wash it on the gentle cycle in your washing machine. A natural-fiber shampoo like you might use for hand-washing non-superwash wools is recommended. Let the garment air dry rather than using the dryer.

     
  • knitting1105 12:47 pm on July 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Venice, Chicago Style 

    8″ of rain in about 12 hours in Chicago leads to some pretty awful messes.  Flooded streets, basements, roads.  But, I had never seen anything like this.  The 290 freeway is just a couple of blocks north of our house, and it is bordered by the CTA (commuter trains) and a commercial rail line to the south.  All were shut down for almost a day.  This is not normally a canal.

    So, I got no knitting done, as we also spent all Saturday from midnight to 10am trying ot keep the water from overtaking our basement.  Time for a sump pump.  While we lost nothing, I now need to rearrange some things.  If we had not been at home, this could have been much worse.  Most importantly, all of my rare hardcover knitting books, including Alice Starmore, are down there, only few inches above the floor level.  Time to move them to higher ground.

     
  • knitting1105 2:41 pm on July 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    They changed Barbie! 

    I made this dress for my niece based on a pattern that I had when I was a teenager.  I could not locate Sofia’s old dolls in the attic (found all of the accessories), so broke down and bought a new one.  Much to my surprise, when I put the dress on that would have fit the old Barbie like something Marilyn Monroe would have worn, it is now baggy.  I think that I prefer the old doll proportions.  This one looks just as disproportionate, just in different ways, she seems very anorexic to me.  I guess that I will have to modify the pattern next time.

    At least it will be easy to put on and take off…

     
    • Alyssa 3:37 pm on July 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! She even looks skinnier than I remember. 😦 That’s a little disenheartening! But, moveable arms! My Barbies never had that!

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      • knitting1105 3:45 pm on July 22, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, the body looks a bit pre-pubescent with the legs of a basketball player. I prefer the old one, and all my cool clothes would fit too.

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    • Jane 3:25 pm on August 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Every decade (or sometimes less) Mattel changes Barbie’s barbie size. Sometimes to go with the times but mostly so the consumer has to buy all new clothing! It’s mainly a business decision to make more money!
      If you think this doll is skinny, check out the model muse gals! Now they are downright anorexic!

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  • knitting1105 11:23 am on July 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Barbie Princess Dress 

    We spent the weekend in Buffalo staying at the historic Roycroft Inn in East Aurora.  We had eaten there dozens of times, and I had always wanted to stay.  It was wonderful, but next time we are just going to stay in the town more to enjoy this place.  It was great to eat outside on the wonderful covered porch. And this was our room:

    We spent the long weekend touring lots of historic buildings, and visiting Dan’s sister and family.  My niece, Rebecca, is a very girly girl 5 year old, and loves dolls and everything “Princess”.  When I saw that she had Barbie Dolls, I showed her photos of the doll clothes that I had knit on my blog, knowing that this would be the dress that she would pick.  I had no doubt that she would choose a pink for the color—not the dark pink.  So, I came home and started this yesterday.

    This has been fun to make, and brings up old memories of my childhood, sitting in my parents living room, knitting clothes to sell.  This was always my most complicated and time consuming dress, and therefore commanded the most money.  Might have been as much as $5.00.  I am almost done with the skirt part, and have almost used a full skein of Baby Ull.  I changed the pattern just a bit to accommodate better finishing techniques that I did not know at the tender age of 12.  I cast on using a loose cable cast-on.  This gave firmer definition to the dress, and allowed me to start with a knit row right away.  The first row is a bear, after casting on 211 stitches, I had to make 104 bobbles off of the cast-on row.  I also allowed one plain stockinette stitch extra on each side to allow me to mattress seam the back.  In the past I would have just sewn it up with a cast over stitch.  I promised to send progress photos to her, so will send this one off tonight.  I should finish it tonight or tomorrow, but I don’t want to tell her that, as patience is not the best at age 5.

    Here are some of the great sites that we saw on our trip:

     
  • knitting1105 3:00 pm on July 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Ho hum 

    This lace weight sweater is boring to knit.  I don’t quite know why I started it, and I hope that someone likes it.  Almost ready to put the sleeve stitches on holders.  I decided to make the size Medium.  It looks big enough, and this yarn will stretch I suspect.


    So, I needed something interesting to knit, and in this heat, there is no way that I am going to pull out one of the unfinished wool sweaters.  So yesterday, I spent time looking at all of my lace books.  I chose to make the sampler shawl (smaller size, which is still quite big), from the book Victorian Lace.

    I also wanted to use yarn from stash, so this is an alpaca/silk blend.  It is very soft.

    And, on a separate note, here is today’s harvest from our little garden.  The heat has been good for the plants.  I am growing bush zucchini, and it seems to be doing well in a large container.  The purple string beans are climbers growing over a trellis at the back gate instead of flowers.  It has beautiful purple flowers, and I love the color of the beans.  They turn green when cooked.

     
    • Barbara 2:58 am on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’ll be interested to see how your lace weight sweater turns out – I had thought of doing something similar myself, but hadn’t realised that there are already patterns carrying out that idea. (It’s hard to be original…) Sorry it’s turning out boring. It’s a lovely colour though – hope you’ll like it in the end.

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      • knitting1105 2:47 pm on July 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        My recommendation would be to NOT purchase a pattern. You can use any pattern that you already have, or make one of your own, check your gauge and go. The feel of the lace weight yarn in a sweater is very nice.

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  • knitting1105 12:24 pm on July 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Lace Weight Sweater 

    I started making the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.   I wanted to show a photo of the finished garment, but they have the photos protected.  I probably should not have paid the money to purchase this pattern, as I could have easily written it up myself.  Perhaps that is why the photos are so closely guarded.  The concept is good, using a lace weight yarn to make a very light and airy sweater.  As usual, I wish that I would have thought through the pattern more.  The front edges should have been slipped at the beginning of every row to make the pick-up for the collar go easier.  I am thinking that the back is getting wide, and the stitches between the sleeves on the cast-on should have been less.  For now, I am just continuing to knit, I don’t feel like ripping back, and want to see how the pattern turns out.  The sweater is knit with Malabrigo Azul lace weight yarn, a beautiful blend of blue with teal and green accents, on size 6 needles.  While easy, it is still a lot of knitting, as you use over 1,000 yards of yarn.   This is my mindless knitting for the next 2 weeks.

    I am contemplating a more complicated shawl also.  I look at my unfinished sweaters and just can’t stand the thought of holding them on my lap in 90 degree heat.

     
  • knitting1105 2:08 pm on July 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Equinox Shawl 

    I finished and blocked the Vernal Equinox Shawl, a free pattern available here.  It is very light and lacy.  I love the Malabrigo lace.

    Here it is pre-border:

    And with the crocheted border on.  I am glad that I did the crocheted instead of the knitted border, as I like the lacy edge.  It was a bit finicky due to the silky nature of the yarn.  The pattern for the bind-off was very easy to memorize, so there wasn’t a chart that I had to keep on hand.  Took just a couple of hours.

    And blocking.  I originally started by pinning each crocheted loop separately.  I realized that it was quicker and smoother to run blocking wires through the loops.  That also made it easier to stretch out the shawl.  On my new blocking boards.  They work wonderfully!

    And finished:

     
  • knitting1105 1:37 pm on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Hot off the presses, Norwegian Patterns for Knitting 

    I just got the book Norwegian Patterns for Knitting by Mette N. Handberg (yes another) in the mail a couple of days ago.  I had pre-ordered this last winter, and was anticipating it’s arrival.  The author is the person who designed the Polar Bear Sweater that I knit,  and one of the first fair isle sweaters that I made for my husband years ago (which is how I came to own DON Pattern book #79 long before it was commanding $500 on eBay).  

    And, I was not disappointed.  Here is the new book:  

    The first sweater that I am anxious to make is listed as a Man’s sweater, but I think that it would look great on me.  Hard to believe that there are only 4 colors used in this pattern.  I apologize for the fuzziness of the photo.  I need to take lessons on how to better use my camera.

    On the knitting front, I am almost finished with the Vernal Equinox Shawl.  I am hoping to block it tomorrow, so will save a photo until it is finished.  Shawls on the needles just look like a messed up bunch of knitting.  It is the blocking that brings out the beauty.

     
    • Lucy Roosevelt-Sewall 7:31 am on September 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love the polar bear sweater and want to knit it for my granddaughter. Can you tell me where to get the pattern or book?

      Like

      • knitting1105 2:28 pm on September 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much! The pattern has long been out of print, but I know that from some vendors if you purchase the yarn, they are authorized to make a photocopy of the pattern for your use. Try http://www.kidsknits.com for one.

        You can also see more of my sweater in this post.

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  • knitting1105 11:08 am on July 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Harmony guides 

    Years ago, I purchased 2 of the original Harmony guide books.  I am not sure why I did not purchase them all, as they are a great reference.  Might have been because I already had all of the Barbara Walker books, and thought it might be overkill.  I seem to have gotten over my fear of having too many knitting books.

    These are the 2 that I purchased, and used the Aran one the most:

    The other knitting volumes in the series were:

    • Knitting Techniques, Volume 1
    • 450 Knitting Stitches, volume 2
    • 440 More Knitting Stitches, Volume 3

    So, when Interweave Press was having their big sale, I chose to purchase all of the new volumes in knitting that I could get:

    And the following “deck of cards” with stitch patterns that you can carry around individually:

    Now, when I compare the new Cables & Arans book to the older Harmony Guides, I must admit that I am preferring the older version.  In that one, the Aran patterns are grouped by the number of repeats in a pattern, making it much easier to group them together in a project, and have all of the repeats finished.  The new book seems to have less total cables and Arans than the 2 older versions that I have.  Also, although the knitted samples are bigger in the new book, the patterns are still small, and they are not as crisp and black as the originals.  I found sticky markers identifying the pages that I used to knit my husband an Aran cable panel sweater many years ago.  This is the sweater that I designed for him, using the Harmony Guides:

    This is one of my favorite sweaters that I have made, and I designed it myself.  I love the intricate cabling on this, and it would have been much more difficult without the cables being grouped into repeat row numbers.

    The other books look like a fine reference, but make me wonder if I should not have purchased more of the original.

     
    • Barbara 3:43 pm on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Those cables on the sweater that you knitted for your husband look amazing – so wonderfully complicated. It hadn’t occurred to me that a grouping by repeats would be sensible, but I can see what you mean. .

      Like

  • knitting1105 4:37 pm on July 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Kitsch or Art? 

    I was in western Illinois yesterday looking at a new project that I am involved in.  We arrived early, so explored Mount Carroll, Illinois.  Saw a beautiful old college, Shrimer College, long since abandoned.  I wish that I had the funds to refurbish this as a retreat area.  They don’t build buildings like that anymore, and 30 years of abandonment and neglect is taking it’s toll on them.  Then we saw the Carnegie Library in town, where someone in the 60’s or 70’s convinced them to cover every surface with acoustical tile panels, obscuring the original beautiful buildings.  There is a dome, that I am sure has something amazing behind it.

    But, by far the most memorable viewing was a quick drive by to Raven’s Grin Inn, a “haunted house”.  Here is the photo that I found at the Dairy Queen in the local attractions:

    And here are my photos, a very bizarre place.  The proprietor came out and talked to us, explaining how he had been “working” on the place for 22 years.  Admission was $12, and I would be tempted to go by just to see this next time I am in the area:

    The last image has writing on the left that said “The shroud of Turino”.

    Then we went to Iowa’s only island town, Saboula, for a pizza dinner, at Bombfire Pizza.   They have an eclectic atmosphere, albums for menu covers, quite a cast of characters, and a tile decorated wood pizza oven.  It was a hippie haven, should have taken photos there also.  Good pizza though.  Quite a day of interesting visual images.

     
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