Sunday, November 22, 2015

My fun Friday

I spent the most amazing day machine knitting on Friday, learning from a master (Dresda on Ravelry) who lives quite near to me in a charming converted two room schoolhouse. Her knitting room is in the old teacher's room above the front entry. I noticed there was an open grill between the back wall of the teacher's room and the former classroom below. Miss Smith would miss NOTHING that went on, even when she was upstairs and well out of sight of her pupils. 

But I digress.  

Dresda had offered to show me how to use my U100E, a fancy shmancy device that promises to transfer stitches from the front bed to the back bed, or vice versa, or only some of them (every second one or the specific ones you tell it to transfer) in a single pass. You save precious minutes that otherwise would be spent moving one stitch at a time by hand. 

I had bought this thingy with great enthusiasm shortly after I got my Passap Duomatic 80 double bed knitting machine because: Texture! I could do interestingly patterned textured knitting on my machine! Not to mention transfer from ribbing to plain knitting easily. 

Full of hope, I tried it. Hmmm, not so easy. It transferred most of the stitches, but dropped others. And it got stuck. And I mangled a latch or two in the process. I bought 50 insurance needles. Every time I tried the U100E the same thing happened. So it went back into the box. Which apparently is the same thing that happens to most of these devices. But Dresda said that she could unlock its mysteries for me. 

 And looky! I made an ugly twisted little swatch. But: garter stitch! Rib to stockinette! Stockinette to rib! Stockinette to chosen stitches purl! This is a tour de force people!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A sewing lawyer can never have too many sheath dresses, right?

I'm lagging behind so much that I can't even remember if I previously mentioned my idea of making the "seamed dress" from the August, 2012 edition of BurdaStyle magazine.

No? Nor can I remember what initially drew me to this pattern. It probably wasn't the shininess or the bird cage...

However I looked it up on PatternReview and there were a couple of very nice versions. Then I let the idea percolate in my head for a few months before taking the next step of tracing the pattern.

And then I cut a muslin and let it sit for a few weeks while I did other things (secret machine knitting).

And yesterday, finally I finished the muslin. Behold my version of the shiny dress.

It's too tight. I did a very slap-dash job of grading the hip curve and this fabric has zero give.

It's also too long - this pattern is in Burda's "tall" size range (72 instead of 36, 76 instead of 38, etc.). They unhelpfully did not print the measurements for the tall sizing in the magazine but the charts are available on line. I'll save you the trouble. There is a 2cm difference in back waist length, and
an 8cm difference in the overall height between the size ranges. I traced without adjusting and (surprise!) I need to pinch out 2cm above my bust.

What do I like about this pattern? The interesting diagonals. They show up on the line drawing, and I hope to be able to make them pop in the concrete grey wool double crepe I've got lined up for this dress.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An easy machine knitted shawl

It may surprise you to learn that there are some extremely active machine knitting groups on Facebook. A few months ago, people started to post photos of a faux-ribbed shawl that became known as "Christine's Shawl" after its designer, Christine B. Linfield.

The instructions are posted in the group's documents, free for anyone who's a member of the group to use. There's a link on the Ravelry pattern page.

Basically, you knit a long piece using the full bed (180 needles) of a standard gauge machine. Every 4th needle is out of work, which creates the ribbed appearance.

Then you do short rows, by putting the first group of 3 needles out of work and knitting 4 rows, and repeating with each successive group of 3 needles.

Then you bring all the groups of needles back into work in reverse order. This creates a line of eyelets and makes your shawl turn a corner.

The shawl has 3 such corners - one over each shoulder and one at CB.

The pattern is extremely easy and I originally thought it wasn't a very interesting shawl. However, I started to think about what to make for my 90+ year old mother in law who's in a nursing home, and realized that this shawl in her favourite colour could be just the thing.

I started it on Sunday and would have finished it in one go, but for the fact that I realized I was going to run out of yarn. I did the second half on Tuesday evening.

It took me longer to finish the ends of the shawl, which I did with a sort of backwards single crochet.

I may make another one of these. It's very cozy!

Monday, November 2, 2015

And I knitted a hat

Oh yeah, I also made a hat.

This is based somewhat loosely on Wurm, a free pattern on Ravelry. I used the second half of my rainbow skein of Kauni Effectgarn. It's totally a trick, that yarn. It shifts colour very leisurely so that before you know it, you've gone through the whole rainbow spectrum.

The second half? Oops, I guess I must have forgotten to blog my Rainbow scarf/shawl. I finished it in early summer but now, I'm finding that it goes with just about every single thing I own.

The pattern for this one (not free) is written specially for the Kauni's long colour changes.

Back to the hat - I made some changes to make it better than the pattern. Specifically, I knitted the first row of each of the purl ridges as a knit row (to hide the transition better), and I hid decreases in the dark rounds so that my hat has a pleasant beehive shape rather than being long and kind of square at the end.

Unfortunately my skein of Kauni only had one bit that was truly purple so the colour transitions at the back of my hat (which are engineered; I have a lot of tiny skeins of the intermediate colours) are not as gentle as they could be. But I am pretty well satisfied with my new hat. It'll add a pop of colour when I wear my severe navy coat, once the weather turns really cold.