Monday, June 28, 2010

The Dresses Have Begun

Last week my Handsome Husband finally got sick of our living room carpenting. We got some beautiful hardwood flooring from Ikea, and on Saturday he and Small Son put it all down. I helped, but only as much as I could injure myself. We still have the baseboard to put in, but we'll probably do that on Wednesday.

No, we did not sew the boards to the flooring. Nothing was knit or crocheted. So what does this bit of history have to do with sewing? Let me 'splain.

I have two dresses to make for Cat's wedding: a bridesmaid dress for Bethe and a Mother-of-the-Bride dress for me. I have been sick of that carpet for quite some time. I did not want to lay that beautiful fabric down on that horrible carpenting, and the floor was the only place big enough. It would have ended up irreparably hairy, and Cat would not have forgiven me. Ever.

Do you see where we are going here?

Today I had two hours and a 13 by 15 stretch of hardwood. I cut out my dress.

It's a step forward.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Handsome Husband Sweater

Even though I'm going to be sewing for the next big while, I still need a knitting project to use up all those waiting times: doctors' offices, traffic jams, kid lessons, etc. The yarn that HH wanted was suddenly on sale at $1.49 per skein. It's Knitpick's Telemark in a lovely Rosemary green.(You might say Army green if you were vindictive. It's the same color.) This is 100% Peruvian Highland Wool sport weight. Hand wash, dry flat. I was strongly recommending the same yarn that I used for the previous sweater, of which I will say nothing at the present time as it is a present. I recommended it because it is Superwash Merino wool: soft and machine washable. Lovely to work with. But not on sale.
So I got the Telemark.
You have to order when it's on sale or the price will go up.

So I had 30 skeins of Rosemary colorway wool sitting there looking accusingly at me in its wirey way and nothing on the needles. Thirty skeins can do a lot of accusing. I knit my swatches in the pattern (5 sts per the inch), worked out the design, and cast on.

I now have almost 3 inches knitted of the back. The back is going to be 5" longer than the front, so I couldn't really put ribbing on the bottom, so I left it un-ribbed. The diamond pattern makes a lovely scalloped edge that HH may or may not object to. If he does, I'll add an I-cord border.

I've also collected the bamboo yarn into a bag, ready for skeining, washing, drying and straightening. The pattern I want to make is called Lace Saddle Tee by Lisa S. Rowe in the Interweave Knits Summer 2010 Issue, page 95 (instructions) and page 91 (picture).

But that's for later. I've got a pair of pink socks to get done before October.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Bamboo Sweater Is No More

A couple of years ago I found this delightful bamboo yarn. It was pretty pricey, so I bought one skein each time I happened to be in that particular store, until I had . . . quite a few skeins stored up. I picked a short-sleeved lace shirt to make, but when I actually started it, I couldn't get the stitch count to come out right. I must have been doing the yarn-overs wrong or something. Anyway, I changed to a long-sleeved v-neck sweater from my Knitters Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd.

I knit on that thing for a year. The ends of yarn were joined inside the skeins with tiny little joins. The v-neck wasn't centered. The body was too short. The sleeves were too long. After one wearing, some of the ends came untied and started to unravel big holes in the sweater. In frustration, I let it sit for a year. Then I decided I didn't want to waste all that yarn and money, so I unraveled the whole thing.

I finished today.

I have another short-sleeved sweater pattern that I want to make with it. Bamboo is a good yarn for a summer item, so it will be perfect. I just have to remember where I saw that pattern. I think it was an Interweave Knits magazine. This year. And I have to put the yarn into hanks and soak them and hang them up to dry with light weights to get the kinks out.

First I'll make the bridesmaid dresses.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cold Feet Socks Finished!

I knit on those during spare moments of the Salt Lake Highland Games, and to and from, and through a movie, blocked them overnight and during church, and they were ready to go by Sunday afternoon. At which time I turned them over to their new owner and my future son-in-law.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Caught Up

Cold Feet Socks
I knitted to my goal of 6" on the second sock yesterday. In fact, I got to 6.25"! True to my goal, I now have to knit to 7.75" today. Ugh!

Also at 6", I reached the end of the first skein of yarn, and started the second. This will not leave me enough yarn to knit a whole pair of socks for Cat. With that in mind, I asked her if she would rather have a matching pair like Jeff's (the yarn is discontinued), or a pink pair for the Walk for Breast Cancer in October. Of course she said pink. So now I can look for a pink woolblend sock yarn for that project, and it won't be my mistake. The pink socks will be my mobile project while I am knitting Todd's sweater.

Todd's Sweater
And speaking of which.
The yarn he wanted was on sale yesterday, $1.49 per skein at KnitPicks, so I ordered it. Thirty skeins of Rosemary-colored yarn. The Theme is definitely green this year! Last year, too. RoseE's hat and gloves, the trim on the Celtic Bag (which Aunt Bethe will be opening today!), The Coronet Hat for Linda, and the Cold Feet socks, now Todd's sweater. Oh! Plus! Also in the order were some more of those cute purple things to keep my stitches from falling off the needles (which happens a lot when I throw the sock in my bag and run) and a little machine for shaving off pills from sweaters. I've heard it's very good. Since my order was over $50.00, I got free shipping! Hooray!

It always scares me when I spend that much money on yarn. It scares me again when the yarn arrives and is sitting around my house waiting for me to make it into something. The fair isle mittens, for example. The yarn--and the mittens--are still in the box the yarn came in, waiting, looking accusingly at me for abandoning it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It Fits! . . . sort of . . .

We finally got Jeff over here to try on his sock, and it fits! Sort of. The leg length and width is fine (skinny legs), but the toe was too long. No problem! I'll just pull out the holding yarn, unravel it back to 1" before the toe started, and knit the toe again. The second sock doesn't need to be so long, either. I volunteered Cat a matching pair for her . . . AFTER the wedding. She was pleased.

Jeff apparently is also pleased with the socks, which is another good thing.

My goal yesterday was to get to 4.5" and I only got to 4.25". Today my goal is 6". I'm almost done with Skein #1. I hope I remember where Skein #2 is.

Now I will stop blogging and start knitting.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Knitting to a Deadline

The Cold Feet socks are half done. I did have to give away the secret, and I asked Jeff if he would come by and try on the one I have completed, before I close the toe. That was 5 days ago, and it is still sitting here. I have 14 days to finish the second sock. If it's overall length is 20", that means I have to knit about 1.5" per day to finish in time. Yesterday I decided to cast on as if the first sock fit and get going. I got about an inch done at the ball game last night. So, by the end of today I need to have 3" done. That's my goal.

This weekend I also finished the Coronet hat for my friend at work. I sent her an email and she is looking forward to receiving it on Wednesday. This hat is one of the examples of why you should read the WHOLE PATTERn before you start. The directions said to knit the band, then with the wrong side facing, pick up and knit around the band. This puts the purl side out (apparently). After I had knit about 3" like this, I realized that the purl side would be out, and ripped it out and started again, so that the knit side was the same side as the knit side of the band. I knit along for about 5 more inches and then I realized that the pattern wanted me to knit another FOUR INCHES! This would make the hat waaaay too long for anybody but a conehead. I read the rest of the instructions. The last line said, "flip the band to the outside". So it had been right to begin with! I should really read all the directions. Instead I knitted 2" less on the hat and then finished the top and DIDN'T flip the band. It still looks the same, but it's not as warm around the ears as it was meant to be. Linda won't know. Unless she reads this.

After this sock I'm going to switch to sewing and get those dresses for the wedding done. They usually don't take as long as knitting.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Welcome to my stitching blog.
I decided to start this because of all the time I spend knitting and sewing, or thinking about knitting and sewing. Some of my knitting escapades are really beautiful. For these I have Bragging Rights. Some are the kind of thing you put a paper bag over your head and hope nobody recognizes you. These--rather more projects than I would like to admit--will be Paper Bag Projects. Some projects came out well, but something went wrong along the way, usually Operator Error. These are my Problem Children. Then there are those projects that I have been thinking about, planning, dwelling on, and possibly ordering yarn, but haven't actually started. These are In The Wings projects, waiting to take center stage.

Just a quick background.
My dear mother taught me to sew at age 7 when I was over 5 feet tall. She could tell I was going to continue in the same vein, so over the summer between first and second grades we made a ragalan-sleeved dress in a green print with orange trim. I was very proud of that dress. I made it to 6' when I was in 6th grade. The clothing stores in our town did not cater to really tall girls, so I had to make all my own clothes. Lucky I knew how! Thanks, Mom!

As for knitting, I remember somebody teaching me to knit when I was 10. I saw my Mom and Grama knitting and chatting and expressed a desire to do the same. My sweet aunt Bethe took me to the store and we picked out blue needles and blue yarn (probably not related to each other at all) and I learned to knit from Mom or Grama or both. I made a (very short) blue scarf with some tassles that probably had bullet-deflecting qualities due to the tightness of the stitches. It was very difficult to fold around my neck, so I didn't wear it much, and didn't knit anything again until my late 20s when I knit a sweater for my new husband. In my late 40s, a friend challenged me to knit some hats for Our Boys in Iraq and Afganistan. Um. OK, great cause, but . . . how? Another friend recommended The Knitters Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd and I knit some Gorilla Hats that probably could be worn over their helmets. (These would definitely be categorized as Paper Bag Projects.) I learned about guage and changing needle size, made some corrections and turned out some pretty decent hats for Our Boys. I also got hooked on knitting.

Using Ann Budd's patterns, I knit some wool mittens (Bragging Rights) and some merino wool gloves (Problem Children) that have some fingers too short (sigh) and some fingerless gloves (Bragging Rights). I tried one of her sweaters with a V-neck in navy bamboo yarn. It took me a year to finish. That one was a Paper Bag Project because I got the V-neck in twisted. Also some of the yarn connections were done with too short of ends that are now coming undone, leaving large holes. I'm currently frogging that (rip-it) to knit into a summer lace t-shirt (In The Wings).

Bragging Rights
Before RoseE left for her mission to South Korea in January 2009, she expressed a wistful desire to have a certain sweater knit for her, with elaborate cables up the back of a peplum. I'll put pics in later. After my failure with the Paper Bag sweater, I had doubts as to whether I could pull such an elaborate sweater off. This January I decided to try it. It's a Debbie Bliss pattern, which means it is well written, and in case you don't know what she means by something in the pattern, you can email the pattern people and ask. Somebody named Rosie will email you back and tell you, kindly. I emailed several times. After about 2 months, I had all the pieces done. I started to sew them together but for some reason one of the front pieces was too long. I tried to rip off 5" from the bottom, but then it was too short. Ugh! So I frogged that whole front side and reknit it to match the other front and the back. I finally got all the pieces to fit together, found some cute buttons, knit the neckband . . . In short, it's definitely a Bragging Rights sweater. It's also a surprise for her, so Mum's the Word until she comes home in July (providing the North Koreans don't get her).

Another project that came out well was a Celtic Tote for that same sweet Aunt Bethe who bought me my first needles. It's even felted! I made it as a birthday present, finished it about 2 days before, but then had to mail it to her, so I sent the thought on time, but the actual present is late.

And what about all those pairs of socks? Those were originally from Ann Budd's book. Everybody in the family now has at least one pair, but they started with a pair for Teancum for Christmas two years ago in a Harry Potter self-patterning yarn called Hedwig. Which is why I am currently knitting like crazy on a pair of Cold Feet socks for my future son-in-law, Jeff. They were going to be a surprise, too, but I am unsure that this first sock will fit, so I'm going to have to reveal the project to him, get him to try it on, and knit the 2nd sock based on the results of the first trying. And perhaps reknit the first sock (I hope not!). I am trying to get them done in time for him to do a Handcart Trek 12 June. That may not happen. I have 1/2" left to go on the first sock before I do the toe. I could possibly finish today if I stop blogging. That would give me about 2 weeks to do the 2nd. Um . . . .

In the Wings is a sweater for Todd. I knit him a sweater a long time ago, when we were first married. It was maroon and had beautiful cables all over it. I got it all knit for his Christmas present, except for one sleeve, which was quickly finished before that New Year's. But lo! The body was too short to cover his tummy, and the sleeves were waaaay too long. Definitely a Gorilla Sweater. Bless him, he wore it anyway. Back to present day: after seeing the Peplum Sweater for RoseE, Todd asked for a new sweater that perhaps fits him better. He requested an overall cable design, V-neck (my nemesis), longer in back than in front so it would protect his bum during bicycle rides, and a dark colored wool. Once again Ann Budd came to my rescue with her Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns. I found the all-over diamond cable design in Interweave Knits Spring 2010, the Lattice and Hollow Cardigan. His yarn of choice is Knitpicks' Telemark Chestnut (23936) or Rosemary (23945).

Also In the Wings are a bridesmaid dress for Bethe for Cat's wedding 14 August. This will be made out of the requisite navy crepe-backed satin, pattern of Bethe's choice, that being a Burda pattern #8351. And a Mother of the Bride dress
for me out of a hand-wash brocade in a dark blue (but not navy) with golden Chinese-type designs all over it. Mine is a Simplicity pattern, 2917, short-sleeved square-neck tea-length dress. RoseE said she would sew her own bridesmaid dress when she comes home. She did already pick a pattern, but we'll see if she still wants that one.