Sunday, July 29, 2012

Life's Too Short

Becky has left a new comment on my post "Deep Waters":

"Beautiful colors! Do you ever use cashmere or anything more pricey like that? I've been wanting to improve my skills so I can try something more 'rich', if you know what I mean."

I love this question because it's something I've thought a lot about.  I have "promoted" myself from cheap acrylic yarn to mostly wool and wool blend yarns.  One day I definitely would like to knit with richer yarns, but truthfully I have a hard time spending the money.  It is not cheap to knit, unfortunately.

Because I am relatively new to knitting and am expanding my skills all the time by trying new techniques and more challenging projects, I am hesitant to pay big bucks for yarn on a project that may be a wadder.  However, my confidence is growing as I have more and more successful results.  And so, yes, I think about buying nicer yarns.  It's the money issue that holds me back.

Right now I have set, self-imposed, limits on my yarn buying.  I only buy yarn for a project that I will be starting right away (or soon) for a specific, intentional project.  I don't buy yarn for a stash.  Well, one exception--I do buy sock yarn. But as anybody who knits socks will tell you, sock yarn does not count toward stash.  Sock yarn buying is open game, anytime, anywhere, whenever a skein catches my fancy.  (I've informed my husband about this rule, and he just shakes his head laughingly as he hands over the money to pay.  Such a nice husband I have!)

For my budget, I do tend to buy most of my yarn from Knit Picks.  The yarn is less expensive than the "rich" name brand yarns, but it still is not cheap.  I dream of a day when some generous yarn company or yarn hoarder will bequest a bounty of yarn to me--piles and piles of beautiful, luscious, quality yarn.

The parallels are the same when it comes to sewing.  For those of you who sew, you know that better quality fabric costs more than poorly-made fabric.  I read somewhere recently, "Life's Too Short to Knit with Cheap Yarn."  Let's add, "Life's Too Short to Sew with Cheap Fabric" to the mantra.

A screen shot of my Ravelry page:  
I started knitting 6 years ago in 2006, and it's encouraging to see my progress.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Deep Waters

My Acer Cardigan is finished!  I'm so excited about this sweater because it is by far the most challenging pattern I've ever knit.  And it fits!  Okay, it's not quite finished because I still need to buy buttons, but it's almost finished.  I went to Hancock's for buttons but didn't want to pay $15 for the buttons I chose.  So now I'm waiting for buttons to go on sale.  


Acer finished, next project started:  the Vodka Gimlet Cardigan.  Funny, I don't drink, but I'm knitting a cardigan named after a drink....

Pattern:  Vodka Gimlet
Started 7/9/12
Yarn:  Knit Picks Swish Tonal, worsted weight, color-Deep Waters
Needles:  Size 7
Garment Size 32, for me or a daughter if it doesn't fit me.   (It should fit, though, because I did do a gauge swatch--wahoo, since I hate knitting gauge swatches).

I was moving right along on the knitting, but only because we took a road trip and I had hours of time to knit in the car.  Now that we're back home I haven't touched it.  Truthfully, I'm rather tired of the stockinette stitch--I'm ready to move on to the collar or sleeves.  If I'm going to finish this sweater by my August 31st goal, then I need to get back at it.  

The yarn color is aptly named "Deep Waters" and I love it.  I'm not too sure about the purple color pooling on the front of the sweater, but it's really not that noticeable.

  The Front

 Stitch Detail at Waist

The Back

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Look 6803


I picked out this pattern (and the fabric) last summer because I was drawn to the simple, summery, cool and comfortable style of the dress.  I almost finished it last summer but got discouraged because I thought the dress  looked like a sack.
A few days ago I found the dress in a UFO pile and decided to finish it.
The dress has a cute pleated neckline, but I found that the pleats cause a balloon of fabric right in front. Yuck. A belt does help, but yet the pouf is still there. My fabric is a soft cotton madras, so I know it's not the fabric's fault.

yep, a sack

The dress sizing is big. Really. Big. So I took in the sides and took them in some more. Well, you know if you take in a pullover dress too much then the silly thing will be impossible to put on. I took this into consideration and made an opening in the back seam. The button loop was made by finger-crocheting a chain from 6 strands of thread. 

With the modifications made, I ended up with a dress that I will wear. I still do not like how the front of the dress poufs out, however, with a belt, the dress is almost cute. 

worn with a belt 

with self-fabric sash

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hollyberry Dunes Shawl


I finished this rectangular shawl a few months ago, but I never got around to blocking it until this past week.  This is my second shawl to knit, so I think that means I need to start wearing shawls.  But it will have to wait for cooler weather and not the 100 degree temperatures we've been having.  :)

The Pattern:  Dunes 
Yarn:  Andean Silk by Knit Picks, worsted weight, color "Hollyberry"
Size:  72" x 26" 

My shawl came out much larger than the pattern model, but that's because I used a worsted weight yarn instead of the called-for fingering weight.  I wanted something with more bulk, more warmth than a lightweight shawl, and mine is just like I envisioned.  Happy, happy, happy. 

on the blocking table

me, without a head

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Stitch Markers - Winner of Giveaway

Congratulations to Jan, the winner of the stitch markers, who wrote,"Beautiful stitch markers! I learned to crochet first as well. I bought a book and taught myself when I was in high school. My favorite knitting projects are fingerless mitts knitted from my small amounts of handspun yarn. I love to make them for my family and for gifts."  

Jan, send me your mailing address, and I'll get a dozen of these mailed out.

You can make your own stitch markers, easy as pie. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pocket Edges

The winner of the skirt pattern, Simplicity 2226, is Jenny who wrote, "Super cute! It looks like great proportions. The pockets are a nice touch, too."  Email your address, Jenny,and I'll get this pattern popped in the mail to you.

Regarding the skirt, I've worn it several times and love, love, love it.  It's the perfect summer skirt and can be worn with many different colored tops.

One more construction detail--I was cleaning out the pictures on my phone and I came across this picture I'd forgotten.  Because my fabric was lightweight, I stabilized the pocket edges with a fusible stay tape.  The instructions call for stay-stitching, which also stabilizes the pocket edge, but I wanted the extra reinforcement to prevent the pocket edge from rippling and stretching. If you don't have stay tape, a strip of interfacing would work just as well.

Change of topic, but I have not forgotten about the giveaway for the stitch markers.  Stay tuned....


Oh, one more picture.  These socks that I started some time ago are finally finished!  I bought the yarn in Switzerland when I was there in 2010, and I finished them in the car on the way home from New Mexico.  Now I am trying to decide on a pattern for another pair.  Any suggestions?  :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simplicity 2226 and Giveaway

Simplicity 2226.  What can I say but I love this pattern!  It is so easy to sew, but yet it has so many great details--the pockets, belt loops, curved waistband, tie sash, and to top it off, it's cute! 

The fabric I used is a rayon challis with a lovely drape.  To avoid needing a slip, I did line the skirt with batiste. Also, I used an invisible zipper instead of a regular zipper. Oh, and I made the fabric tie, but I didn't get pictures of it. I've worn the skirt with a belt instead, but it's nice to have the option of the tie.

I have seen variations of this skirt pattern all over blogland and on Pinterest, and liked what I saw.  So when Simplicity patterns went on sale, I bought the pattern and made the skirt.  Later, when cleaning my sewing room, I found that I already owned the pattern, hidden under a pile of fabric.  

Leave a comment on this post and I will send the duplicate pattern, new and unused, to one reader, chosen at random.    Thank you for everyone who commented.  The giveaway is now closed.

Happy sewing,

Monday, July 09, 2012

Yarn Swift

Crazy swift and ball winder!!!!  Can anybody, please (pleading here), please tell me how to use this thing?  I started out with 6 skeins of Swish Tonal yarn and ended up with 6 rather misshapen and squishy cakes of yarn.  

Are there directions anywhere on the web for using a swift?  Any suggestions?  Tips, tutorials.  Pitfalls to avoid? 

Six Things I learned:
  1. Get a helper.  Or grow a second pair of hands.
  2. Flatten the skein before placing it on the swift, and make sure it's not twisted.
  3. Don't stop winding in the middle or everything will go south.
  4. Tighten the swift screw super-tight, or everything will go south in a tangled mess.  Literally.
  5. Keep an even tension.  I didn't, and that makes for smooshy cakes of yarn. Or uptight cakes. Take your choice.
  6. Wind off the skein so that the yarn end is coming clock-wise.  Wait, maybe it's supposed to be coming off counter-clockwise?  I think I tried it both ways, and found neither to be better.
Lastly, and in the case of my skein of lace-weight gray yarn pictured below, if the skein is too big in diameter to fit on the swift then use two chair backs to keep the yarn taunt.  Then hold the yarn winder in your hand and walk around the chairs, winding as you walk, until you get so dizzy that you fall over.  Then wait awhile and do it again.  Eventually, maybe hours and hours later, your yarn will be wound in a not so pretty yarn-cake like mine. 

Yes.  Seriously.  I need some help from knitters with more experience than I.


Don't you agree it looks like some sort of Torture Contraption?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Stitch Markers Giveaway


With all my knitting lately, I found I needed more stitch markers.  I almost ordered some beautiful stitch markers on Etsy, but then I found this tutorial.  So I decided to make my own.  

What I love about these stitch markers is that they do not snag the yarn.  There are no rough edges, and the slit in the jump ring is covered by the bead.  A bit of glue keeps the bead in place.  With coupons, this project cost me under $10.00. 

For your chance to win one dozen of these beaded stitch markers, made by me, leave a comment on this post telling me what is your current knitting project or your favorite knitting project.  Oh, a crochet project will count as well.  I learned to crochet before I learned to knit, and I have fond memories of my grandma teaching me.

I will close the giveaway in a week or two (busy summer days!!!) and I will ship internationally.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Last night we attended the Red, White and Boom concert and fireworks show put on by the OKC Philharmonic and the State Fair.  We had a great time together with the family and grandkids!  Happy July 4th, everyone!