Friday, August 30, 2013

Almost Finished Object Friday

I came very close to extending my streak.  Sleeves are done and blocking.  I'll do the shoulder seams and neckline today and then sew in the arms this weekend.

So close.  Hope you have a great weekend and Labor Day holiday in the US.  Check out the truly finished objects and great projects at Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday - Blocking

Hi there.  All my knitting lately has been on my Dansez Custom Fit sweater.  I was really hoping to get it done for this Friday, but reality is contriving against that.  The front and back are done and I'm almost done one sleeve.  With lots on my schedule, finishing another sleeve, blocking and finishing are not happening by early Friday - maybe late Friday.  Who am I kidding?

I'm happy with how this is turning out.  The lace edging blocked out well.  I'm a bit concerned about the sleeves, may be tighter than what I like but this is a wool cotton blend, so I can probably be able to get a bit more width from it.

I came up with a great change to my blocking routine.  This may be old news to everyone else but it was a revelation to me.  I always wet block - I don't work with fibers that can't have that done.  I do the soaking - many times not as long as I should.  I confess, I'm impatient and I don't rinse as much as I should, frequently skip the roll in towels step.  I used to just take the dripping pieces, head to the guest room bedroom (it has guests two weeks a year and
is a blocking station the other 50), and lay out the pieces, pin, measure, pin again.
My new way starts the same.  Soak the pieces.  While they are soaking I pin out the outline based on the schematic and measurements (Amy Herzog is great about giving measurements of the finished pieces).  I pin the corners and the center line and various spots that look right.  By the time I finish doing that, the pieces have soaked for twenty minutes.  Then I rinse and squeeze out the excess water.  Then I gently lay out the piece to the pre-pinned outline, starting by pinning the corners and then going in.  Then I know it fits the measurements and I can smooth it out.  This has been a great change - especially since my last two projects have had a large cotton percentage and that can grow on you if you are not careful.
Maybe everyone does this and I was just slow figuring this out.  It does make it faster and less stressful to pin out.  I did add additional pins for the lace points after the rest was pinned out.  What other tips do you use for blocking?
It's Wednesday but Tami hadn't posted as of a few minutes ago.  Hope she is okay and just running late.  Head over there later and check it out.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Finished Object Friday

I think this is a record for the most Friday's in a row with a finished object.  I'm not jinxing it by going back to count how many weeks.  My Plaits and Links cardigan is finished!  I did enjoy the process of knitting this.  I was worried about the fit, my first full sized saddle shoulder sweater and it was practically a raglan shaped sleeve.  It does fit well, though the pictures are not all that I would like.  Honestly, it will be four to five months before I can wear this here and I was dying just trying this on yesterday.  100 degrees here yesterday!

The pattern calls for small buttons and just using the holes in the cables as buttonholes.  I hate button holes so I'm all for that, but I'm just thinking that this doesn't need buttons.  Maybe clasps.  If I had planned ahead it would have been perfect for a zipper, but I didn't plan ahead.
The other happy surprise of this was that blocking took care of the rolling of the cast on edges.  I was thinking I would have to use grosgrain ribbon but I don't think that will be necessary.  Our final class on this is tomorrow and the others may have good ideas on finishing ends and button holes.  But for now I'm calling it done!

Thank you all for your good thoughts about my husband's recovery.  I've had two nights of sleep without interruption and that is a great feeling.  He is getting better but sleeping a lot.  Healing takes a lot of energy.

Have a great weekend and head over to Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see the great Fiber projects.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Work in progress Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!  Things are getting back to normal here.  We're able to sleep through the night without having to get up for medicine or changing dressings.  Sleep makes a huge difference.  My husband continues to improve, so all is good at home.

I've been working on my second Custom Fit Sweater.  For this one, I started with the Dansez pattern from Amy Herzog's book.  It has a lace pattern around the bottom edge, a scoop neck and elbow length sleeves.  I am using a DK weight, much lighter than what the pattern used.  So I used the software to recalculate based on my yarn and my measurements.  I'm up to the armholes of the back.  Doesn't look like much until you block the lace.
Her sweaters have a lot of shaping.  I have started marking decreases and increases with tiny rubber bands (my son's braces are off and we have tons of these around the house, you do have to cut them off later but they are easy to find and basically free until I run out of his stash).  You can see that there are vertical darts.
This one gives a close up on it.  You can see that there are actually three vertical darts for decreases - starting first with the one that is closest to the middle of the back, then going to the next out and just two decreases closer to the edge.  I had never seen this before (well my last sweater had two darts for decreases - but three?!?).  Amy's explanation for this is that when you have a big difference between hips and waist and have to do a lot of decreases in a short amount of space, it is best to do two or three vertical darts.  This way it will fit better, not pucker or gap in weird ways.  Since I have almost four inches of lace border, all the decreases before the waist have to be crammed in to a small space, therefore more vertical darts.  The top marker is actually where the increases start so you can see that it is just a small vertical area for the waist.  I'll keep you posted on how this works out and how it fits finally.

Last night was Night Knitting for our guild.  We didn't have a great turn out - time of year, people getting ready for school to start, etc… but we had a few.  I was helping someone with a pattern which was really poorly written.  They didn't want to use more than two pages so they skimped on the instructions.  It makes you really appreciate when designers put the time into writing clear instructions.  Especially when you are doing something for the first time like three sets of darts.

Head over to Tami's to see all the great projects.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Custom Fit Sweater - FInished Object Friday!

Happy Friday!
I'm feeling much better, not necessarily getting more sleep, just adjusting to it.  My husband continues to improve but we have 4 - 6 months of recovery/physical therapy to go through.  I promise to not complain for that long.  I'm also very happy to have had so many finished objects in a row!  Feeling very productive.  But this will probably be the last for a week or two.

This is a sweater that came from Amy Herzog's Custom Fit software.  I'm in the second group of beta testers.  You input your swatch details - row and stitch gauges and your measurements.  Then you choose what type of style and some other factors - this is a crew neck pullover with short sleeves and 0" of ease.  You select the hem lengths and depth of the neck opening.  You get a pattern for a bottoms up, set in sleeve that has the waist and bust shaping to fit you perfectly.

I'm very happy with it!  This is a cotton blend that I will get to wear a lot.  I'm planning my second sweater with the beta software now.  The software hopefully will be released this fall.  You don't pay for the software just for the patterns that you create and want to use.

This picture helps you see the vertical darts that are used for the shaping.  The patterns are very well written and give you detailed instructions for the shaping.  There is also a guide for taking your measurements so that you know where and how to measure.  I will keep you posted on how the software is coming and when it will be released.

Have a great weekend, make time for yarn and check out the other great projects at Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday - feeling fuzzy and out of focus

Lots of knitting going on here.  I have blocked the Plaits and Links Cable sweater body and have one sleeve finished.  I want to try the fit of one sleeve before committing on the second.

My Custom Fit sweater is just about finished, hoping to show it on Friday.  I've had a lot of time to knit lately.  My husband is on the mend but can't be left alone right now which means lots of time at home knitting.  I'm starting to swatch for the next project, because at this rate, I will need it.  Honestly, what I need is sleep.  I'm getting 3 - 4 hours per night between changing ice pack dressings and handing out medicine.  Last night I had almost 5 hours but I feel a bit fuzzy and out of focus, like the picture here.  I really thought it was in focus when I took it.  Oh well, this too shall pass.

So head over to Tami's to check out the projects there.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Finished Object Friday

Happy Friday.  Thank you all for the good wishes on my husband's surgery.  It went better than expected and he's responding to the pain medicine well.  Not too groggy or grumpy.  I'm tired because his ice packs have to be changed every 2 - 3 hours.  Our teenage son has been a big help through it all so I'll get a nap later.

I did manage to get the buttons on my Antonia sweater.  It has the top down set in sleeve method that the pattern I was using was calling English Tailoring.  Christina from A Baby Smiles Knits mentioned that it is also called Contiguous.  I hadn't heard that before but there is a Ravelry group that gives a lot of information about it - and the pullover that Tami is working on is in this method.  Funny how all these things show up at once.

I'll hope for better pictures later but wasn't able to do much without my photographer.  It fits very well and I think that I will get a lot of wear out of it - went it isn't 104F outside!

Head over to Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder so you can see the other great projects.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday - Started the CustomFit Sweater

Happy Wednesday.  I'm back to lots of projects.  The newest one is my CustomFit Beta Sweater.  I mentioned last week that I am a beta tester for Amy Herzog's soon to be released CustomFit software.  Using the software, you put in your measurements and gauge information from a swatch.  You can make style choices around neckline, pullover or cardigan, length, sleeve type and length.  After you input that, it generates a pattern sized for your body.

I started on Monday.  I had the swatch done on Sunday and thought I had measurements done then as well but had to redo one.  Measuring yourself is not always the easiest, and as wonderful as my husband is, he wasn't always measuring right.  So I am almost to the back armholes.

Amy is big on vertical darts - see her blog for why.  I like waist shaping but until I read Amy's book I always did it on the sides.  One of the last sweaters I did, I used her method of vertical darts and it did fit really well.  In this case, the software is putting in two pairs of vertical darts on the back to get the amount of decreases I need without puckering.

I also cast on socks just to have a pair on hand when easy portable projects are needed.  These are Dead Simple Lace Socks by Wendy Johnson.  Red is my favorite color, though it hasn't shown up in my knitting in the last six months to a year.

Tomorrow my husband is having shoulder surgery, so I'm going to have about five hours of waiting time.  Knitting will help keep my mind off of all of it.  Recovery is supposed to be long and painful so it will probably be a difficult couple of weeks.

To see lots of great projects, head to Tami's.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Finished Object Friday

Happy Friday!  Believe it or not I have not one but two items to share today.  I know it is a shock but I have finally finished the unending socks!

I am very happy with them.  They fit perfectly.  I had planned to make them longer ( they are toe up), but I hated making these so finally decided to call it quits.  Some combination of the stitch pattern, needle and yarn was just a bear to work with.  And I love all three individually.  The combination was not happy.
Here is a detail of the toe and the stitch pattern.  I have never had a pair of socks that fit so well.  The pattern is Mock Cable by Wendy Johnson.  And I have already cast on for another pair of socks.  I don't plan to finish them quickly but it is handy to have a very portable project to carry around.

 My other item is the Twined Mitts from Beth Brown-Reinsel's workshop.  I really enjoyed these and will definitely use them.  They are really warm.  I may do a pair of mittens that are similar to these.
Here is the back side, just to see how the twining looks.  It is definitely different than stranding.

Since it is Friday, head over to Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see the great projects.  Have a great weekend and hope you have lots of time for fiber.