Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sewing!

I moved to Chicago a month ago but don't start school for a few more weeks, meaning I've had a lot of time to do crafts. Last week my mom brought me her extra sewing machine. My grandma bought it back in the '70s and it's the machine I learned to sew on when I was little.


I took it out today and made a little pillow - not my finest work, but it was fun to try my hand at sewing again. My sister bought me some cute glasses from Anthropologie for my birthday that happened to match the fabric, so I decided to have a little photo shoot, complete with props:



The other side:

I'd like to make dresses and skirts for myself, but I think I need to build my skills a bit more. Hopefully I'll have more projects to write about soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tour de Fleece


I've been spinning every day of the Tour de Fleece (the spinning challenge that takes place during the Tour de France), save one day that I worked late. I've been working on a few things. First, I spun up some merino I bought from Woolarina at the HandMade Mart. I spun up a bobbin by core-spinning and spun the rest as a thick single. It was mostly for practice, but I think a hat made from stripes of the two yarns would be cool.


Corespun:

Ages ago I bought two pounds of superwash merino with the intention of making a sweater. It wasn't as soft as I hoped so I haven't been that dedicated to spinning it up. I'm moving soon and figured I should ply up the singles that I did have, since yarn seems easier to store than bobbins of singles. I made up a little bit of 2, 3, and 4-ply, washed to set the twist, and knitted some swatches.


I liked the 3-ply best, which means 5 stitches per inch. I was thinking of making a Tangled Yoke Cardigan, but now with a larger gauge I'm thinking of making Seneca.


Finally, I started a hat with handspun on the subway today. I get around 40 minutes a day on the train and I like to take a simple project with me. I'm knitting it top-down so I can use up as much yarn as possible for a big, slouchy beanie.


Now, back to spinning!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finished Calvert Cardigan

Project: Calvert
Source: Norah Gaughan, vol. 3
Yarn:
Patons Australia Merino Totem DK 8ply
Ravelry link

I finished a new cardigan last night - Calvert from Norah Gaughan vol. 3. My gauge was just a tad large, but I did the math and found that if I made the 34" sweater it would turn out about and inch bigger. Well, I based this off a pretty small swatch that I didn't bother to block, so the cargian turned out to have about a 40" bust. The yarn is machine washable, but I wonder if it would shrink a little bit if I washed it in hot water (this would be the time to test with a large swatch first).

I made a few modifications to the pattern that I thought made assembly a lot easier. The back is supposed to be knit in two pieces, with the bottom half wider than the top. When you sew them together you are to gather the bottom to make them match up. I chose instead to make five pleats in the back, as well as a little bit of decreasing to make the bottom the same number of stitches as the top. I wanted to keep the seam between the two, but didn't want to stitch them together, so instead I bound off the bottom piece and then just picked up and knit the stitches for the top along that bind off edge. I think it looks nice, and the bind off gives some structure to the pleats.

This was also the first time I wet blocked the pieces of a sweater. I used to pin the pieces down and spray them with water, but I've decided that wet blocking is the way to go. The finished product looks a lot crisper, and it doesn't take that much longer to dry. I still need some little buttons, but for now my hairpin works pretty well.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Maryland Sheep and Wool


I had a great day at the festival. A very nice woman I met through Ravelry gave me a ride and we spent part of the day shopping together. I saw some cute and fuzzy animals, met some lovely knitting podcasters at their meet 'n' greet (and recieved an awesome goodie bag) and bought a fair amount of spinning fiber. Here are a few of my acquisitions:

I only bought one skein of yarn - tweedy sock yarn from Autumn House Farm. I am really not sure what I'm going to do with this yet...

Merino/Seacell pencil roving from Fiber Optic - I've never spun seacell or pencil roving so it's going to be exciting to spin. I'm thinking of making a single (unplied) yarn with this, something else I've never done.

Five ceramic buttons from Jennie the Potter. I loved these buttons when I saw them on Ysolda's blog and found some for myself in blue. I don't know what I'm going to use them for yet, but I think they're very special.

I bought a few other spinning fibers that you can view in my stash, and I'll post more about them when I spin them up.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spinning

I bought a drop spindle kit on Etsy last summer, and it was only a few months before I bought a wheel. I love my Ashford Kiwi, and am having lots of fun learning how to work with different fibers and trying new techniques. Here are a few skeins of yarn I spun and their subsequent projects...

#1
2-ply merino - fiber hand-dyed by Miss Babs and purchased at Fibre Space in Arlington, VA. It turned into a Lacy Baktus shawlette that became my favorite scarf this winter.

#2
I bought some hand-dyed merino from FatCatKnits on Etsy and made a scarf for my aunt, but used the leftovers to make socks for me - I've discovered that wearing handknit socks automatically makes my day better.

#3
Another great project for handspun is the Toast wristwarmers - nice and simple, and they don't use up much yardage. I made two pairs with 4 oz handspun and could probably squeeze out another. I spun up the fiber (from A Tangled Skein in Hyattsville, MD) with long color repeats and then made a 3-ply yarn, which has awesome, slow color transitions.

I have a few other handspun projects and a number of handspun skeins waiting to be knit up (I have spun fiber other than merino, these three projects are just my favorites). My current project is spinning sweater quantity of some superwash merino in a navy blue. And... I'm going to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend! I'll be sure to post pictures and descriptions of my loot!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blog Revival

I decided I should start blogging again, and my newly finished sweater seems like a good project to talk about for this revival.

A family friend brought some yarn back from New Zealand for me, and I wanted to make a sweater dress out of the golden-yellow tweedy DK yarn. I couldn't find any pattern I liked with the right gauge, so I set out to design it myself.

I made a swatch to find stitches per inch and played around with a few cable and lace patterns for the center design. I settled on a motif I adapted from the Sculptured Lace Scarf from Interweave Knits Spring 2009.


My idea for the dress changed a bit from my original sketch - I started ribbing at the waist, but there was still a lot of positive ease at that point and the ribbing looked weird, so I ripped it back and made it more of an A-line shape. I also opted for a vest style instead of the capped sleeves. I had to add bust (and back) decreases near the top to get the fit I wanted in the end, but it ended up looking great (in my opinion).