Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Midweek Meditation

  "Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes."   
                                            ~ Carl Friedrich Gauss, on his engagement

Carl Friedrich Gauss, a German mathematician, was born on April 30, 1777.

Photo Credit: 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Bigger Stuff (1 of 2) -- In Which I Install a Zipper

There has been a gap.

My last post "Small Stuff" was on April 8.

"Small Stuff" was about a handful of smaller FO's that I made mostly in the first 3 months of this year.  In April, I finished some "Bigger Stuff".

I finished stitching the zipper into my Taiga #2 on April 12, 2014.  (I noticed when I entered this date on Ravelry that my finish date for the project was exactly 1 year after the start date.)

 Pattern: Taiga by Svetlana Volkova
Yarn: Berroco Blackstone Tweed Chunky

Some of you may remember that in my sleeve post on this project, I mentioned finding two different zipper insertion tutorial-type posts. I ended up using neither, but bookmarking them for the future.

The first, for me, has a great idea for pinning in a zipper -- but with a selvedge edge being attached to the zipper.  It does also show using a hand stitched back-stitch to actually sew the zipper in place.  This is the stitching method that I do use most often; however, I hate the way it looks on the inside of the garment, and I usually end up adding a facing of some sort to hide the stitches.  My Taiga #2 already had a folded front facing made from a partially steeked edge.  Pinning the zipper to a selvedge edge was in no way possible, but also out of the question, was applying any sort of additional facing to hide the ugly hand stitching.

The second zipper post was, surprise!, in Swedish, but do scroll down to see it translated into English.  Now this is a zipper insertion I love for not having ugly uneven hand-stitching show on the inside!  But, I could not see using it on my Taiga, because of the Taiga's bulk and a little bit because it would be so very time consuming.  I know that I will use this on another sweater someday.

My final decision was to, surprise!, machine stitch the zipper in place.  Machine stitching with a thread closely matching the zipper color would certainly show the least on the wrong side.  First, I carefully replaced my "pin-basting" with a hand-stitched basting in contrasting white thread.

The white stitches were made exactly where the machine stitching would go through the knitting on the facing fold line.

I blame the bad lighting effect on my sewing machine light.

If you look very closely in the next photo you can see the cranberry color machine stitches.

After removing the white thread, I folded the facing back and sewed it  in place for the length of the neck ribbing, and from the lower edge of the sweater up to the top of the pocket facing.  Except for the yarn ends used at the very top and very bottom, I used the cranberry colored sewing thread so as not to add any more bulk.

A close-up photo may show why I like the stitching to look good on the inside.  If the top of the zipper is worn a bit opened, this stitching will show.

I consider my zipper application to be the best possible for this particular project.  A very important point I like to make about making (anything) is that what is best for one project might be very different from what is best for another.

Happy knitting (and finishing) to you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Small Stuff

I have not posted about any of my FO's (finished objects) since right around Christmas.  All of the FO's in this post were the "small stuff" that I made as samples for teaching in February and March.

In January, I made my first Colormatic (from the free pattern designed by Michelle Hunter) as a shop sample in less than two weeks.  Ann at Gosh Yarn It! takes the best photos.

© Gosh Yarn It!

I taught the one-session class on February 1, and I made my Colormatic 2 for my lovely daughter as a teaching-project-in-the-works. 
I have a difficult time with indoor photos after dark, but this one is actually better than others that I have attempted.

Each cowl was made with four different colored skeins of "Kenzie" (50% New Zealand merino, 25% nylon, 10% angora, 10% alpaca, 5% silk) from the HiKoo by Skacel Collection, Inc.  A lovely, beautifully balanced yarn, and very easy to work with.  The class was well attended and great fun!

And then there were socks!  I do love teaching from my own patterns.  In March, I taught a three-session class in making a basic toe-up sock from my TATU Try A Toe Up) patterns:  TATU Sock and Fingeringweight TATU Sock.  The class created a perfect opportunity for me to both start and finish a pair of socks for Mr K (whose 'Sad Socks' are still quite that).

The yarn that I used was Cascade Yarns Heritage 150 Paints (75% merino, 25% nylon).  The fantastic 492-yards allowed me to make the tallest socks ever(!)  I rolled the skein into two equal-weight balls, and I knit the sock cuffs until I thought that they should not be any taller.  You can see that there was a decent amount of unused yarn in the remaining two balls (How opposite is that from those sad socks?)

I also made a second child's sock.  This photo shows a blocked and unblocked sock.  The blocked one was a part of the pattern photography.  The unblocked one a class sample.

I had a total of three in-the-works socks as I taught the three classes which focused on (1) the toe cast-on, foot and gusset, (2) short rows, and completing the reinforced heel, (3) my favorite toe-up sock bind-off (the Kitchener Stitch Bind-Off) along with alternate bind-off possibilities.

The sock knitters were a smaller but very enthusiastic group!  I hope to offer a couple more classes before summer.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Midweek Meditation

“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”  
                         ~ Hans Christian Anderson, The Complete Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen, born April 2 1805, was a Danish author and poet. "Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales."    ~ Wikipedia: "Hans Christian Anderson", 04-02-14

Wikimedia Photo Credit: By Charlesjsharp (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons