Things are taking shape.

Resting up from the workshop I’m knitting a lot on Cool Wool Serra Cardigan. It’s mindless knitting in the round round round and a good project for laying back and recuperating.

I had reknit the bodice from the arms down, and this weekend I just finished the sleeves. Now I can knit the bodice down all the way to the bottom. Besides good for resting this is also a good car ride project. On Thursday we leave for Germany for a few days, it’s going to be a 5 to 6 hour trip. So having a mindless knitting project is good planning.

The shaping looks good. I’m at the hip increases now but I’m doing only the ones in the front. I’ve got nothing in the trunk that needs additional cloth.

Before the workshop last Friday I finished sewing that top with the scalloped edge. Learned a lot!

topje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdarttopje patroontekenen schulprand French bustdart

Concerning shaping I now definitely know I’ve got to  stay away from shirts that hang down from the breasts. I look like I have a big belly.

Shirts like this go over the head, without an opening, and therefor they have little additional waist shaping. It now looks like my body fills out the shirt right from the tip of my breast to the bottom of the shirt. You know about the pencil-trick? Well, I could do 250 grams of yarn tricks in tops with this shape.

I learned about sewing scallops though. And about neck facings and about gathered sleeves. Those are easy! Even with my foot treadle. Just loosen up the tension on one side and you get an excellent gathering stitch. I want more gathering in my sewing.

For pattern drafting I narrowed in on good wearing ease and a better arm hole for my basic shirt pattern.

Here, this is where I was coming from:

A failed shirt with not enough wearing ease, a too narrow arm hole and too extreme shaping for two poor princess seams to handle. Not finishing this, no way. Never wearing this.

Still, even this failed shirt is teaching me valuable things.

And! There’s a concealed zipper at the centre front, that’s good. It’s lapped and neat and now I don’t have to make button holes nor sew on buttons. It made it into my basic pattern for a Tailored Ladies’ Dress Shirt.

Now I have to “unvent” something about that waist shaping and those princess seams though. Probably need more panels.

For knitted garments I’ve got the shaping pretty down, by now. Cardigans. Vests. I can do those.

Next cardigan will be Pumpkin Ale. The yarn I dyed for that is caked and all ready to go and will come with to Germany. But it’s not mindless knitting, this is a gotta-keep-looking-at-my-hands-kinda-project. Especially the start since the back is a cabled panel. Looking forward to it though.

The mushroom yarn is ready to go too! It will become a stranded vest with good shaping. I looked at Art Nouveau visuals. I chose the lighter colours I dyed. Now I’ve looked the free vest patterns I have in my library such as Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang and Twelve Months of Christmas vest by Helen Burros andGreat Horn-Rimmed by Mary Scott Huff:

 pic by the three designers named.

I’m going to steek, y’all! Exiting as I won’t be able to try on the vests and check the shaping once I reach the arm holes. I’ve never steeked before.

I hope to develop a basic stranded vest pattern in this yarn weight for my body shape and then crank out stranded vest after stranded vest. Just picking colours from my stash and making charts with Stitch Fiddle.

One more puzzle to solve before I can begin is to incorporate the waist shaping and the bust dart into the stranded patterns… A nice puzzle. With rewarding outcome.

Looking at the thee vestpatterns above I’ve learned I should probably cast on about 207 stitches for the bottom ribbing. That’s fine, I can start that in the white and it will be a few hours of mindless knitting, no stranding required yet. I won’t be doing corrugated ribbing even though all these patterns have that. I want a calmer look for my vest. Calm, light, pastel. A Februari look.

This is my desk top this month:

februari-mood-board

I can start my stranded “shroom” vest as soon as I skeined up the two balls of commercial Shetland yarn that I bought at De Schapekop to go with my dyed yarn. The white and the blue one. They need to be skeined up because I need to wash out the spinning oil! I’ve got gloves to handle the skeining. Not getting that spinning oil on my hands and in my eyes again, I want to sleep at night.

After skeining I need to wash them HOT. Then they need to dry and be reskeined. All before Thursday so skeining and washing is on the calendar for today. I want to bring the white one with me to Germany. As my back up mindless-knitting-car-ride-project. In case I finish the Cool Wool Serra Cardigan.

I should probably bring a sock too. Even though I’m going to Germany, The Land Of The Sock Yarn and we’ll even visit the Lüneburg yarn shop called Stricxs which looks marvelous! They even sell Wollmeise. And I’m going there with the intention of buying souvenir yarn.

note to self: pack needles in various sizes. For when the unexpected knitting strikes.

So that’s the plans! I feel confident.

The wrong white…

Ack.

The last ball of the vintage Norwegian yarn is a different white. It’s a different brand too. I knew this. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yet it does.

How to proceed with my stranded Owl vest now?
I can alternate balls I guess… I’d have to frog all the rows from the previous weeks. Nothing says progress in knitting like frogging. *sigh* The difference in clour will still show, the vest would definitely have a different coloured top.

I could try and buy a matching yarn. Nothing says stash busting and finishing WIPs as buying more yarn.*sigh*

Here’s a reminder of this fun vest I have on the needles:

vest pattern is Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen

owl pattern is Grey Eyed by Rebecca Tsai

Pfff. I’ll have a think about it.
In the mean time I’m eyeing Tangled Vines cardigan and also probably casting on a new vest, from that purplewhite handspun.
And crocheting flowers of course. Lots and lots of them. Quick, before I grow tired of it.

Finished: grey handspun Flinders vest

So much gets done when you don’t take your crochet with you to the cabin.
I also finished Grey Flinders Vest while I was there:

Top-down vest pattern with raglan at the shoulders:

Before I started the ribbed hem I added a few shortrows at the front because it was considerable higher than the back. Three pairs in total, that’s six extra rows.

pattern: Flinders Sweater Vest by Linda from clickertyclick

yarn: 170 grams of handspun Wolop hollands grijs on needles 4 mm. Ribbing on 3,5 mm. DK weight, 411 m used.

It’s really nice! Now that we’re back in the city I want to make dress shirts asap to wear under it. Like the ones I’ve been planning since last Noveber. But first I have to sew a pair of trousers. Linen Summer trousers. For Summer 2016.

Ofcourse this happened:

Sometimes a vest is just a swatch.

On closer inspection I don’t like the shape of the back panel of the Grey Flinders, I want the armhole to be more straight, going down from the shoulder. Covering up my shoulder a bit more, for warmth.

So I think this may be just a swatch:

18,5 stitches per 10 cm. 24 rows.

As an alternative for a top down vest I’m now looking at Colors of Kauai by Hanna Maciejewska. It has a nice broad back panel and is a straight forward set up. Prov. cast on, knit down, increase for arm hole. Attach yarn at front and knit shoulder straps. Increases. Nice shape at the centre front.

Actually, one could do this just by herself. No pattern needed. Start with shoulder width for the back, knit down a bit, increase a bit to embrace the torso under the arms.

Attach new yarn at top, knit a strap, increase it a bit at both sides. One side for meeting the back panel under the arm. The other side for meeting the front panel, in a shape you like. I like a round shape for this one.

The trick is to have a feel for when to increase and how much…

Uhmm, I might want to reread my own notes on my top-down Hilja because it sounds as if I’m re-inventing it:

Whut?

nu 86 achter en meteen sluiten als ook onder de armen wordt opgezet en gesloten. Het is nu in the round. Wel nog aan de voorkant eerst 2 x +3 gedaan en toen een shortrow (omdat het sluiten met 14 st aan de WS ging). Bij de shortrow nog weer een extra steek gemaakt.

OMG, I keep such bad notes! In “Dunglish” (Dutch English mess up) and no numbers for set-up? What am I saying? I sometimes do this when it’s a paid for pattern but Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen is a free down load.

Anyway. I now know for sure I like my back panels to be broad. Just like me.

Hilja pattern photo:

 pic by Niina

Hilja pattern has about my white handspun gauge so it is a nice guide for where and when to increase. Ah, this might be a good time to start keeping better notes.

 

A simple mathematical conclusion.

a new needle 4 mm arrived, to continue Tangled Vines cardigan with.

PLUS

still waiting for the purple(green) handspun to dry and start Flinders Vest with it.

EQUALS

casting on Flinders Vest with Wolop Grey on said needle 4 mm:

and I’m already down to the underbust decreases!

The pattern is a tiny bit difficult to follow because it doesn’t explicitly say when to join the back to the fronts and it also increases a bit fast to my taste at the vertical arm hole edges. Thirdly, some increases right at the bind off for the neck edge feel counter intuitive since they happen at one raglan but not the other. I just trusted the pattern and thought that I could always fudge a stitch +/- if I felt it would be needed.

With any stretch of knitting of more than a handful of stitches making one stitch more or less isn’t going to be a problem. Knitting is approximate.

Soon I’ll be breaking the yarn and add the ribbing at the neck and arm holes first, before knitting downwards again to the hem.

There will be a few stripes in blue at the hip line, I expect. That blue Wolop roving has been spun already. It’s Leicester, which is a breed akin to Blue Faced Leicester, and it spun up so fast! Nice long staple and soft. 10/10, will spin again.


The twist hasn’t been set yet. 193 meters, 100 grams, same weight as the Wolop Grey (sport/worsted)

 

“the twist hasn’t been set”…. I better do that right away, otherwise it may not be dry before I need it.

Weird Wool Wednesday: a bird? a plane?

 

It’s Super Grover!

pic from muppet wiki

This is the chart I made and used:

I lengthened the arms and the legs by one stitch. And I gave him a “chem trail”.

Here’s a different version, I’m just playing around:

Both charts made using StitchFiddle, the free online application that lets you make charts for stranded knitting, embroidery and lace knitting. You can save, download and share anything you make.

Stranded projects in progress

Enchanting Mystery mitten in new colours:

Better. Looks more like my inspiration photo, eh?

I’m also sufficiently weirded out by the colour combination. I keep looking at it, it sure holds interest for me.

pattern modifications:

  • Estonian cast on and cuff on smaller needles (2,25 mm) because of small wrists
  • repeated chart A1 1,5 x, to have a higher stripey bit
  • added one row of plain knit before and after the flower to separate it visually more from the brown garter rows. And I like my cuffs to be long anyway.

The Fair Isle Cuffs in misty green sock yarns:

Better. Lovely light overall look, even though I’m choosing colours with more contrast to work with.

(I started the ribbing with reverse k and p for the white and multi coloured glitter sock yarn but decided I liked it better the other way around.)

Not sure if I’ll make the second cuff the same. I’m not keeping notes which yarn I use when to have a more relaxed knit.

It’s a slow project. I can only work on it during day light and at a time when I’m willing to look at my work all the time. Usually when I knit, I knit while doing something else, like watching a documentary. I haven’t found many audibooks I like to listen to.

Stranded Hilja Vest is at this level:

It’s been at this stage for a few days now, for the silliest of reasons: I couldn’t fit it properly while I kept wearing my handfelted princess dress. It needed a good fit. But I needed to wear my happy dress.

Today I’m wearing “normal clothes” and did the fit. It’s a bit snug around the belly… not too snug but just enough to be A Not Particular Comfortable Wear. This morning I’ll be walking around wearing it for a bit to figure if it’s too uncomfortable because in that case there’s no point in proceeding to knit this.

But I’m sure it’ll be alright:

Winterknit: using vintage Norwegian yarn

A friend from Ravelry was giving away some yarns her grandmother had collected. Some of it was Norwegian and she kindly gave them to me:

Firda yarn isn’t even in the Ravelry database. But it’s a Norwegian daily newspaper that reports on knitting in the Art section:


Knitting graffiti hits town centre with colour bomb
(psst, gentlemen, that’s crocheting.)

Yahoowonders lets me know that the producer of Firda Strikke Garn, Evebofoss, was a well known producer of wool for Norwegian garments in the last century. Pinterest impression:

Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 08.57.06

Sandnes Garn Tvinngarn is in the Ravelry database, but it’s discontinued. The two projects that are shown are from people using up yarns that are left from projects knitted by their mother and grandmother. 🙂

Thanks to the Swedish Advent socks I’m confident about stranded knitting again. And with a current obsession for Winter light and a structural love for Scandinavia I’ve casted on for a Winter vest, using Norwegian vintage yarns:

The pattern is Hilja by Niina Hakkarainen, the same I used for my green handspun vest. This time I’m just following the pattern as written, bottom up.

The colourwork is the brim of  Snowflakes Tam  by Ari Whitlow

The vintage Norwegian yarns are of DK thickness, roughly double the size of sock weight, which is where the name DK (“Double Knit”) comes from. It’s a perfect thickness!
Knits fast yet solid. Warm fabric yet souple.
I think this thickness is traditionally most used for handknits in the UK. I’m using needles 3,5 mm although most people use 4 mm.

I think this vest will use 2 skeins of the white Firda and half of the blue. I also have one white of the Sandness left:

The label reads “garnet for brukskunst” = “a yarn for functional art”. Love it!

There’s also one skein of the Sandness Tvinn yarn in a military green colour that still has the old old label:

Use your art to have outdoor fun!

An easy vest and a difficult one.

Is this cheating?

I felted an old woolen pullover in the washing machine. Cut off sleeves and collar.
Hey presto, a vest and wristwarmers!

Neaten the edges with some crochet handspun. (It’s that Blue Texel I’ve been spinning (in my mind) for ever.)

Yay! I plan to wear it with all those grey blouses I’m sewing for my green handspun vest.

I’ve got two blouses finished but have stranded spectacular midway the third one. I might have inserted the sleeve up side down or something, that’s how bad it looks at the moment. I’ve thrown it in a corner, couldn’t even muster the courage to take pictures and ask for help

I hope I figure it out soon though. I want to get to a usable basic blouse pattern. I’ve got plans, you see:

All to go with my grey vest. And my green handspun vest!

Which is at a bit of a canundrum too.

After knitting and ripping the second shoulder strap numerous times I’ve abandoned trying to match the first. The second shoulder strap will now become an after thought, designer feature. In solid green, I thought, to emphasize its difference from the existing shoulder strap. Perhaps crochet it even. Macramé?

As an after thought I can also use it to make the fit is exactly right, use it to adjust how the vest sits at the front:

Because there’s a bit of a thing with how this sits at the front.

This’s how I designed it. The piece sits straight in the middle.
The darts are precisely under the bust. There’s a designed line going from the centre to the non-strap-side.

But sitting like this it looks better:

Sits more comfortable too.

Now the horizontal line in the panel is horizontal (There’s a rule that you usually shouldn’t have a horizontal line near your breasts when you’re well endowed. It’s a good rule. But it’s not the law.)
The part under the shoulder strap lays nicer over my breast.
But the whole thing is shifted to that side now. Bust darts are no longer at their proper positions. I’d have to undo and redo that whole part.

It does look much better now. Feels better too.
It’ll need additional fabric at the non-shoulderstrap-side. About a hand’s width. A vertical knitted strip perhaps. I think I have handspun enough. Oh, I could incorporate the shoulder strap in this strip, make it flow from the top down, along the side. It’d be another designer element.

Whoah there, horsey.
You’re getting a bit over enthousiastic. Designer elements are popping up like crazy in this vest.
It was supposed to be a quick, unassuming knit. Just enjoying the yarn.

I think this vest is getting too many distractions from what should be a simple goal.
A bit like building a toy car for your cat so it will leave you alone while you go and repair your bike so you can cycle into town to get more flour because you want to make a pancake cake. For the cat.

Sven Nordqvist. A great illustrator.

With the green vest I’ve come so far. I’m probably half way now. There are some really nice things in there, like the increases for the bust and the solid green i-cord that’s both practical and will help to pull the whole thing together. (The side seams will be in solid green too, broadened to make the fit perfect.

It will be a smashing piece when finished! A real designer vest. But going on, I won’t know what other problems will arise. “Trudging” is the word for how it’s going. In all aspects of life really, at the moment, so I can’t even properly asses if it’s just me or the vest too.

Ripping it all out will really hurt.
But then I’d get a vest soon, probably. An unassuming vest, but pleasant to wear. A nice stage for my blouses to shine on. Nothing special. But nice.

I can’t decide what to do. I’ll wait a bit until I feel better, have a clearer head. Probably. (I could just go on knitting on it in the mean time.)(No harm in that)