Monday, October 20, 2014

The Sweater

Some projects are epic because they're creative.  Or because they're pushing your boundaries.  Or because they're just SO darned adorable, like my pocket bunnies.  Sometimes a project becomes epic just because it's been finished LOL.

Last spring, I was browsing my FB newsfeed and someone posted a picture of a sweater with the request to find someone who could make it.
 The first few comments were typical "Find the pattern and I/my grandma/my sister can make it".  I KNEW there'd be no pattern available for it, just going by the photo that was posted.  So, I said I could probably do it.
Much googling revealed that it was made by Aeropostle.  So, no pattern would be available.  I also really felt that a handknitter would not be able to replicate the sweater.  

Doesn't it look cosy?  I spent some time finding a yarn that had both colours and wasn't "too heavy".  Now, "heavy" is obviously a relative term.  Most cozy, oversized sweaters seem to be made out of thicker yarns.  I chose a worsted and made up a swatch, and went to meet Kelly and get her measurements.  I was all set to get going, using the SK155 bulky machine.  Still a lot of hand manipulation, but faster than hand knitting, right?

Then Kelly emailed me, wondering if I had started....and would it be too much trouble to change to a lighter yarn?'re the client; I'm not going to knit a custom sweater only to have you say you don't like it!  I did a lot more research, trying to find an easy care yarn, no thicker than DK, in both colours, that was affordable and available.  That took a lot of time.  I finally suggested Snuggly DK by Sirdar, and luckily, Soper Creek Yarn in her town had it.  We met up in her town at the LYS and took a look.  Kelly chose a cream that was a little different, cooler, than what I imagined, but it grew on me.  They had only 7 balls of the cream (Rice Pudding), and lots of the chocolate, so I got three of it.  I really had no idea how much would be needed.  How do you estimate something like this?!  At least with the Snuggly DK I could use the Singer 327 with ribber.  Which  meant even more complicated swatching.

 I got started on swatching again.  I liked the reverse side, LOL, but Kelly liked the original front side.
Although I had spent a lot of time with swatching, and a tape measure and calculator and scrap paper, I wasn't happy with the back.  It was too long, too messy, and the brown stripes were too wide.
It took a lot of work to recalculate the design.  The gauges of the beige and the brown were different.  I was making custom adjustments to the Knit Leader pattern.  It took a lot of figuring out.  A lot.

Eventually, I got the math all worked out and re-knit the back.  It looked so much better!!  I was so much happier.  I sort of think I re-knit it a third time, but I can't quite remember LOL.
I kept having the typical machine knitting troubles.  I'll get into them in the next post, which will go into detail about how I actually did the design.
 I got skeptical that I would have enough yarn, particularly the cream.  Soper Creek didn't have anymore in that dyelot.  No one did.  I did buy a few balls in another dyelot but I wasn't happy.  They seemed stringy and I could see a colour difference. I thought I could do the ribbed band in it, but I really didn't want to.  In the end, I pretty much used every inch of the cream of the first dyelot.  I would have like the ribbed band to be a smidge wider, but....and then a few days after getting it to her, I found a part ball which had gotten lost, looks very much like the original...ugh.
 Very hard to get a nice sweater picture.  I tried using the self-timer, and modelling it myself...but I'm a knitter, not a model.
This dragon fly liked it though!

Before I delivered it Kelly, I had to stop at Apple Melon Designs to pick up some samples of tag possibilities.  I've searched for fabric tags, and haven't found any local, then another crocheter posted that she was working with another metal tag maker, and I thought--I know someone who does that!  I love being able to support someone local!  Sorry the picture is not the best, I couldn't get a picture in the dark, I sewed it on while sitting in the truck under a streetlamp :)
Did you know if you press backspace while doing the spellcheck, Blogger closes your post and goes to your blog and your heart will stop for a minute?  :)

Yarn In:   7547gr
Yarn Out: 533gr + 3161gr = 3694gr
Balance: 3853gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $394.48/287 days = $1.37/day

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bunny Buddies

After Jenna received her second white mini bear, she requested two more for her nieces.  Or, little bunnies would be cute too, she though.  Similar, but not quite identical.  At first, I was considering pink and peach, but I didn't have two yarns similar enough.  Digging through my stash, I came up with these two balls of Patons Lace.  Single strand was too flimsy, so I tried one strand of each.  I started with the belly, and I was picturing this long legged bear that Megan has.  The belly has a cute bulge and I tried to replicate that, while switching to two strands of the same colour for the front.  It wasn't as successful as I had hoped, but still cute.  I noticed that the two strands of beige did not stand out as well as the two strands of white.  Interesting how that works.
"Did you see what Miffy wore to the dance?  Always, the same dress!"

 Then I moved on to the legs.  Starting at the bottom, I wanted a long, narrow foot.  I sort of got what I wanted, and did one with each colour combo.  Then, for some reason, I moved on to the head.
Maybe if we hide here, no one will see us!

 When I came back to do the 3rd and 4th leg, I couldn't get them to match the first two.  So, I came up with the "design element" of one leg of each combo!  That way the foot shape would match on each bunny and by having one element that matched the other bunny, it really tied them together.
 Uh Oh!  Busted!  Faces to the wall, hands up!

The faces have the solid colours at the noses, and again, the tan didn't show as well as the white.  The facial features were done a little darker on the tan bunny to help them stand out a bit.
"You're my hero!"

The arms were easy, just doubled the colour for the tips. 

The ears were a bit of a challenge, but not difficult.  I pictured a long floppy ear, rounding out at the bottom, with a patch of the solid colour on the inside of each.  To keep them flat and hide the ends, I knit them in the round.  They weren't quite as floppy as I imagined, but still adorable!  The tails were mini pompoms made using the fork technique.  First time I've done that.  Don't double wrap the centre!  Then, like I always do, I steamed the pompom to fluff it up.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these bunnies.  They're perfect size to sit in your hand or go in a purse.  The sequins are cute, the tails are adorable, and the different facial expressions make them each unique.  One bunny, on it's own, is adorable, but put the two together?  Awwww!!  Totally adorabubs!

Yarn In:   7547gr
Yarn Out: 53gr + 3161gr = 3214gr
Balance: 4333gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $394.48/285 days = $1.38/day

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Romper Room

Probably only Canadians will know about Romper Room.  A fun children's show with an odd main character--an adult in a costume--and a "human" host.  That seems to be the model for many childrens' shows LOL.

I wasn't happy with the sizing of the first romper I made.  I immediately got started on a second, smaller one.  Of course, I didn't have great notes from the first one, LOL, and it was no longer in my possession...I was hoping for narrower, and just a bit shorter at the front, so the bib wouldn't be right up to the chin, since babies dont' have necks.  I'm not sure which of these rompers is closest to a newborn size, but hopefully, she now has some options for different sized babies.

Yes, that's the only picture I have.  Can't wait to see one of them on a baby!

Yarn In:   7547gr
Yarn Out: 26gr + 3161gr
Balance: 4386gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $394.48/282 days = $1.40/day

Monday, October 13, 2014

Yarn In, Again....and Again....

I was working on the teddy hoodie in the darker colour. I got to the point where I thought "I'm not going to have enough yarn, am I?".  I really thought one ball would be enough, 90yds, since I didn't use the whole ball of Thick n Quick...but being crochet, it took more.  So, hen the dilemma was, do I keep going, hoping I can get another ball of the same dye lot, or just stop, I case I have to rip it back to blend in another dye lot.  And....I felt the fabric was a bit stiff.

I was able to get another ball of the same dye lot, and I bought a larger crochet hook.  The one I had, didn't have a size on it, and I couldn't figure it out!  The new one is obviously larger, the new fabric is more pliable.  Still a little stiff, but it seems in the larger sizes, the sizes jump up quite a bit between each size.  The hoodie is a quick piece, but then I made the two tone ears and sewed them on.  Then I reread her message and realized she wanted single coloured ears.  Oops.

The yarn was Loops & Threads "Cozy Wool".  50% wool!

Yarn In:   127gr + 7420gr = 7547gr
Yarn Out: 3135gr
Balance:4412 gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $9.03 + $385.45= $394.48/280 days = $1.41/day

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Yarn In, Again...

I had to take my daughter and her friends to Value Village for Halloween costume shopping.  They're of an age where they can do this sort of thing some-what independently, so I headed to FabricLand at the other end of this oddly planned strip mall.
I was looking for reflective thread to carry along with yarn.  They had wide 3M fabric backed ribbon, so I got a metre ($10.50/m!!) and I'm going to try slicing it down with my rotary cutter.  I don't actually have to carry it with the yarn while knitting, but I can duplicate stitch or just thread it through.  I could duplicate stitch a person's initials!  Or "Look!" or "Stop!" etc!  The cutting lady told me they had the Red Heart Reflective yarn though.  They changed the store around and I thought they weren't carrying yarn anymore.  It was on the wall I rarely go to.  They had the safety orange, but it's $7.99!  I paid $1.99/ball for the clearout stuff at Michaels but they had no orange.  I got ONE ball, LOL.

Today, I've been Googling, trying to see if there is a source for carry along reflective thread.  I have a couple leads, and I hope something works out!

Yarn In: 100gr + 7320gr = 7420gr
Yarn Out:    3135gr
Balance: 4285gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $385.45/275 days = $1.40/day

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Remember these Cookie A. socks I had worked so hard on?
Okay, searching for that picture and post....July 2011!  These sat in time-out for a long time!! 

I decided after I finished my last pair of socks that I would finally get these done.  I worked two at a time on one circular, and finally finished sometime this summer.  It wasn't a warm summer and I got to wear them right away.  Soooo soft!  Excuse the fact that these pictures are of worn, un-cleaned socks LOL.  If I waited any longer they might not get their pictures taken!

 For these ones, I did a few increases on the top of the foot, and the main increases on the bottom.  I don't follow any formula or pattern.  My foot is quite wide with a high arch.  I just keep trying it on and make sure it fits. 
 Then I do the "Fleegle" heel, which is just short rowing across the back of the heel, like doing a top down heel, and the short row turning at the bottom.  But in this case, you do the short rowing up as far as needed to get rid of all the extra stitches.
 Or, until it's back to the width you need.  However, I find for me, that doesn't make the heel section come up high enough.  So, I do a few more short rows at the top of the heel.  You can see in the picture above that I missed knitting one of the wraps.  The short row section at the top really doesn't bulge out like that--that one light section, combined with wind and shadows makes an optical illusion!

For the cuff, I did a picot cast off.  After trying a few other options.  I wanted something that would look good folded down too.  The simple picot cast off won.

These are so soft.  Not at all tight--even socks that don't feel snug tend to leave marks on my legs, but these ones are good.  The heel fits really well.  I'm so glad I got them finished and into my sock rotation!!

Yarn In:    7320gr
Yarn Out: 80gr + 3055gr = 3135gr
Balance: 4185gr more brought IN than out
Cost:  $385.45/274 days = $1.41/day

Monday, October 06, 2014

Yarn In Update

Hopefully, a quick post to get the Yarn In totals updated!  I finally have finished items to show, though the photos need editing and watermarking.  It goes in spurts--nothing for awhile, and then all of a sudden, deluge!  Anyway.

Picked up a bunch of yarn at Michaels' for those animal hoodies.  Didn't even get anything for myself!  Total, $40.62; 910gr (ouch!  But they all have projects lined up!).  A stop at a LYS to pick up more of the Snuggly DK in a dyelot that really didn't match what I had, plus a ball of Kertzer Coolspun Cotton in bright red (no one carries the true red of Handicrafter!), and a ball of Schachenmayr "Boston Mix" in a cool camo/safety orange mix.  This will be a hat for my dad!  I just looked on Ravelry and this yarn doesn't appear.  There is a "Boston" but the composition is slightly different.  Total, $30.12, 250gr.

Yarn In: 910gr + 250gr + 6160gr= 7320gr
Yarn Out:   3055gr
Balance:  4265gr more brought IN than out
Cost: $40.62 + $ 30.12 +$314.71 = $385.45/273 days = $1.41/day

I do have a couple projects to show off, one used 533gr!  (The Snuggly DK sweater).