Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cover Girl

I found some super clearance cotton, and started the cover pattern of the spring/summer Vogue Knitting. It is a circle cardigan, and features a medallion back and a separately added ring of cables and stitches in varying gauges.

Here is the center medallion (not yet blocked)

Not that difficult, but you need to read each row carefully and check off each one done(55 different rows, starting with 6 stitches and increasing in a circle to 192!) I started with double point needles and had to switch up to short circulars and then longer Addi circ's.

I had hit a low motivation doldrum moment as I finished the inukshuk (too warm to wear now) and had no cottons in my stash to start summer knits. I looked at some boucle wool in a beautiful brown, destined to be a winter cardigan, but lacked the wind in my sails to get started... This is perfect for the changing seasons.... Should only take a few more days to finish. :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inukshuk Pullover

Inukhuk Pullover revisits my favourite icon... you can see the knitted inukshuk in my hands in the photo. I took that guy and charted him, then knit it straight into a simple pullover sweater. The new twist for me is the coloured yarns used in the motif are hand dyed by me with ONIONS and TEA! How cool is that... I had the most fun researching the natural dyes and "cooking" the yarn on my stove (my friends will tell you that's the most cooking I have done in a long time!).

Yarn used is Ram Wool's Inca Silk, unfortunately discontinued and it has been in my stash for over a year, waiting for the right dying / knitting project. The colour is natural (off white). I used 10 balls, 50 gms each, but wound one ball into 3 mini skeins for dying.

DYING: using a medium saucepan, simmer 2 tsp Alum (in the spice - pickling section of the grocery store) in 4 cups of water. Add all 3 skeins and simmer on low for one hour.
At the same time, in 3 small sausepans simmer one cup water with 1: skins from one spanish onion, 2: skins from one red onion, 3: 3 teabags.
Take out the skins and the bags, and add one skein to each small saucepan, and simmer low for half an hour. Rinse well in cold water until water runs clear. The spanish onion will make a butter yellow yarn, the red onion will make moss green yarn (yes, green) and the tea will make, of course, tea tan yarn. Dry and roll back into small balls.

Yarn: any dye-able worsted weight yarn that knits to gauge.
Gauge: 22 sts and 28 rows = 4 inches on 4.0 mm needles (US 5)
Needles: 3.5mm for ribbing (US 4), 4.0 mm (US 5) for body
Size: medium (chest measures 39")

Back: With smaller needles, cast on 101 sts. Work in K1, P1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. On last row, increase 12 sts evenly across wrong side.
Change to larger needles , work in stocking stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side). Continue until back measures 16 inches from start.
Armholes: Bind of 8 sts at beginning of next 2 rows. Decrease one st each side, every other row 8 times. Continue even until piece measures 25 inches from start. Bind off 7 stitches at start of next 6 rows. Bind off all remaining stitches.

Front: Work same as back until piece measures 9.5 inches.
With right side facing Start Inukshuk chart: Knit 43 sts, starting at the first bottom right stitch of the foot, work the chart as presented. (May be best to print the chart so you can mark the rows and follow more easily) (email me if you can't print and I will attach it back to you)
Work the chart in stocking stitch EXCEPT the two sections marked seed stitch (for texture). Seed stitch is described Here.
AT THE SAME TIME: When the body measures 16 inches from start shape armholes as for back. After the chart is finished, and the length is 22 inches, make neck shaping by binding off the center 29 stitches. Use 2nd ball of yarn work both sides and decrease one stitch at each neck edge, every other row 5 times. Work even until 25 inches, and bind off from each shoulder edge, 7 sts, then 7 sts, then the rest.

Sleeves: With smaller needles, cast on 47 sts and work k1, p1 ribbing for 2.5 inches.
Increase 5 sts in the last wrong side row.
Change to larger needles, work in stocking stitch, increase one stitch each side, every 6th row until 96 sts and 18 inches. Shape cap: Bind off 8 sts at start of next 2 rows. Decrease one st each side, every other row 10 times. Decrease one st each side every row 10 times. Bind off 4 sts at start of next 4 rows, then bind off all the rest.

Make another sleeve.
Sew shoulder seams, and with double point 3.5 mm needles, pick up 84 sts around neckline and work k1,p1 ribbing for 1.25 inches and bind off loosely in rib stitch.
Sew shoulder seams and side seams. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Vogue Knitting

The best knitting magazine by far (in my humble opnion) is Vogue Knitting. I anxiously await its arrival each season, and the summer 09 issue is no disappointment. Check out the fine silk and cottons, with a bit of bling or amazing detail. I already have 4 must knits from this issue....
above; beautiful ruffle cardigan... checked out the cost of yarn... over $120 US... yikes.
Intrigued by the construction and design of the above....
below: I could see this one with an elegant skirt in a matching colour for a wedding....
Got to finish my inukshuk sweater so I can start all of these at once!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inukshuk Next Project

I have been working on a new sweater, a simple stocking stitch in Silk and Alpaca, with a charted design on the front of my favourite thing.... the inukshuk. Since I am almost finished the first sleeve and am days away from finishing the whole thing, I will post teaser photos to keep you looking for the finished pattern! The most interesting part of this pattern (in my humble opinion), is the dying process to create the colours of the inukshuk.... this is my greenest sweater ever! I did some research on the net to find some ways for dying yarns at home with natural and easy to find ingredients... so the green yarn and the yellow yarn is created with different types of onion skins, and the caramel colour is tea. I will give dying details with the pattern instructions in a few days.

The inspiration for the inukshuk design is of course my beloved inukshuk handknit doll... pattern HERE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sock Monsters

I was searching the internet for sewing inspirations, and came across sock monkey and sock monster patterns and ideas last week.... this has consumed my mind and I have thrown a few together to get the feel of the craft. What I wil do with these items once complete, who knows, but for me as always the journey is more fun than the destination, and making these are a blast.
Here is the salvation of some lovely hand knit socks I made a year ago. These were from hand spun and hand dyed 100% wool, that was SO soft and looked great knit up. They felt even better on my feet, but alas, the yarn that was so soft, was also so delicate and wore through the heal in 5 wearings! Broke my heart, but I couldn't through them out, so they sat in my sock drawer, just to be caressed every few days.
Then this inspired monster! The hole was patched, then the heel became the mouth and the other parts sewn and stuffed and it is very soft and cute. Don't you think?

Here is another fun one. Frankensock.

And the last is my golf bag with my new club covers! Wood Hood pattern here!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Silk Lace Summer Cardigan

Silky, Lacey, Summer Cardigan....

From a huge skein of hand dyed wool/silk came this idea. Light and lacey, knit on fine needles. You can use any sport or lace weight that knits to gauge. Approximately 250 grams should do it.
Size: fits 36 - 38 inch bust.... sorry just one size right now (working on re-writing ALL my patterns)
Needles: 3.5 mm
Gauge: 24 sts and 32 rows = 4 inches. (stocking stitch)
Back: cast on 96 sts.
Rib K2, P2 for 8 inches. Change to lace pattern stitch. 11 stitch repeat, 12 row repeat. Or USE A LACE PATTERN OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING!
Knit 3, start chart and repeat across until 5 sts remain, P2, then K3.
Continue in this pattern until the piece measures 15 inches. Armhole Shaping: Bind off 5 sts at the start of next 2 rows. Decrease one stitch each side, every other row 5 times.
Continue until armhole measures 9 inches. Bind off all stitches.

Front: Make 2, reversing shaping for left front.
Cast on 48 sts. Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 8 inches. Change to lace pattern stitch, and work until 15 inches. Cast off 5 sts from left edge side, and decrease one stitch every other row 5 times from the same edge (armhole shaping). Work straight on this edge for rest of piece. At the same time, when front measures 17 inches, shape neckline: bind off 14 sts from right edge, then 2 sts off on next right edge, then decrease one stitch every other row 5 times. Work even in lace pattern until same length as back and bind off all stitches.
Sleeves: Cast on 74 sts, and work k2,p2 rib for 1.5 inches. Switch to lace pattern and work for 3 inches in lace pattern, increasing one stitch each side every fourth row, 4 times. Armhole shaping: Bind off 5 sts each side, then decrease one stitche each end every other row, until sleeve cap measures 5.5 inches. Bind off 5 sts at the start of next 4 rows, then bind off all the rest of stitches.
Sew shoulder seams, pick up and knit neck edge: about 120 sts. Work in k2, p2, rib for 1.25 inches and bind off all. Pick up from front edge: 88 sts. Work in k2, p2 ribbing for 1.25 inches, bind off all. On buttonhole side, cast off 2 sts, evenly spaced on the 3rd row, and cast on 2 sts on the next row over those spots, to make button holes.

Sew on sleeves and sew side seams. Find some great buttons and attach.
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Chilly, Sunny Saturday

On a rare full Saturday off, I hate to miss out doing everything I love to do, so I got the groceries early and before the Easter shopping rush (at the market at 8am), then we hit the links at 10:30. It was only about 6C, and a bit too windy for my liking, but we tough it out because the alternative is, well, NOT golfing....? nah.
I wore long undies, turtleneck, wool sweater, long pants, two layers of socks, insulated vest and a windbreaker.... and headband that covered the ears and my Masters Bucket hat to mark the weekend. I also have winter golf gloves (a pair of fleece backed and suede palmed gloves) that make a huge difference. I had a birdie, a couple of pars and lots of bogies and doubles, but hey, I was golfing early in April, so yahoo.
The lacy cardigan was finished last evening, and is awaiting buttons. I really like it and will probably wear it a lot, as it is light and dressy and I can wear this style to work. I am planning what to do with this lovely fine yellow merino.... not sure yet, so will continue with some put-aside socks for a day or two.
Here's one more sock monster....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sewing Diversions

I have dusted off the sewing machine, and put together two skirts for spring. They are in the finishing stages, photos to follow, but in the meantime, check out this Sock Monster... hee hee...
I found this site, and was inspired by the goofyness of the results. Sometimes you just have to make something stupid for no reason at all.... maybe I'll make more too. Just google sock monsters for lots of inspirations.... I was digging through my fabric stash, and found some nice pieces tucked away. Enough for some capris and a top or two. Amazing what the economic times does to us. Trying to conserve and reuse and, well, use stuff we already have instead of buying new all the time. It did cause me to tidy up my sewing/knitting/crafting area in the basement. It now looks like this, and I finally got a new ironing board to put beside the sewing machine, instead of hauling the only one from two stories above down when I am sewing and running it back up when done. I don't know why I waited, I have an extra iron and the new board was on sale for $13 from Canadian Tire! Such an extravagance?!
The sweater is this far along..

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rainy windy Saturday

Lousy day for golf or pretty much anything else... huge winds and damp cold air (shiver), so I got to the sewing machine and did a bit on a new skirt, then settled for some knitting and a new HBO on DVD. I picked up season one of Carnivale, not yet available in Canada on TV. I thought I would give it a try since I loved The Tudors, and Rome, and heard this one was cool too.
The first 2 episodes have hooked me. Really gritty, dirty and authentic setting from the depression days, you can almost smell the sweat and dust and cheap booze.

The new cardigan has the back finished and the right front to the armhole shaping.
Tomorrow may be a bit nicer (up to 12C) and not as windy, so I may get a chance to golf in the afternoon, then the next week is cold and rainy (or SNOW?!?).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Ramblings

The next project is planned, charted and started. The yarn is a wool-silk hand dyed by me a few weeks ago. This is a fine, summer weight, knit on 3.25mm needles. The plan is a button front cardigan with a scoop neck and short fitted sleeves, and ribbing on the lower half, and lace work on the upper....

So far so good, and it feels nice to the hands.

I have also picked up some new patterns to try some sewing projects for spring. Fabricland had Vogue patterns for $5.99, (regular over $30) and they are my favourite for real designer looks and construction. I picked up some skirts, pants and a dress pattern... I will post the results of sewing here too, if you knitters (only) will indulge me a bit. I am sure a lot of you multi-craft, so this may inspire you too to dust of the old sewing machine and hit the fabric sales. I actually have a few pieces in my fabric-stash to start the ball rolling :)