Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Fight Continues or (I Have to) Have a Hart

What my daughter said still remains quite accurate: "Those are fight'n words!"

The Leigh that I started earlier this year was frogged weeks ago. Simultaneously, I found myself swatching for a Hart.  (Both sweaters were designed by my newest favorite designer, Julie Hoover.)  I have become a bit obsessed with Shibui Knits Pebble [48% Recycled Silk, 36% Fine Merino, 16% Cashmere].  Knitting a Hart in Pebble will be a "mindless" long term knitting project.  Mindless knitting is comfort knitting I like a good balance of both mindless knitting and challenging knitting each and every day.  

In spite of my proclaimer at the very start of the new year, "I don't think I will ever use any other designer's patterns again", I just have to have a Hart.  It will be black and it will be featherweight and floaty. The type of cardigan you could wear over and over again.  I really want one.  It will work well in my wardrobe.  What more can I say.  (I have to) Have a Hart.

Let me throw in a quick knit tip:  Try remembering when swatching with black yarn... whose stitches, especially at such a fine gauge, are notoriously difficult to count... that, if the same yarn is available to you in a lighter color... use the light color yarn to swatch for the black project.  I had to learn this after a couple of not totally helpful black swatches!

I do not need a Leigh.  I loved the idea of a light and loose top made in the Ash colorway of Pebble But Leigh is probably a bit too boxy and shapeless for a short person like me.  I don't want to look like I am wearing a gray paper bag.  I will be thinking of an original summer top to make with the ash colored yarn... it will be a design of my own making.  Which will not be mindless knitting, at all.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Straightforward Zipper Insertion -- The Stitching

For some helpful tips on pinning a zipper into a sweater, see my last post, A Straightforward Zipper Insertion -- The Pinning.

Stitching the zipper into my Everyday Cardigan -- even with a few stops to attempt to get helpful photos -- took only a bit more that an hour.


That is my #3 BIG something that really is a part of 'everything you need to know' about inserting a zipper of your own.

Sewing a zipper in by hand prevents the stretching that can happen when using a sewing machine on a handknit fabric.

Whenever I work backstitch, I always think of it as 'one stitch back and two stitches forward'. The backstitch, as shown in the illustration, is commonly used in hand embroidery to create a line.

You will start on the wrong side by securely stitching one end of the zipper to the sweater. Then work one or two small stitches above that. (Try not to let any of this show on the right side.)

Bring the needle out to the right side. Locate the column of stitches that will be your stitching guideline. As I mentioned in my last -- The Pinning -- post, the "well" where the I-cord is attached to the front of this sweater will perfectly locate and hide the stitch line. In this next photo, I am just using the needle as a pointer to show my planned stitch line.

Beginning the backstitch looks like this.

The steps you will be repeating:

1) Insert the needle in about one half of a row of knitting before where the last stitch came out.

2) Guide needle out two whole rows above where the last stitch came out.

3) Draw out needle to complete the stitch.

Remove pins just before you get to them. Check the wrong side fairly often to see that the stitches are appropriately located near the center of zipper tape which was you pin line.

When you get to the end of the zipper you will need to turn back to the wrong side to securely stitch the end of the zipper as you did at the start.

My project, named Everyday Sweater, really is all that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Straightforward Zipper Insertion -- The Pinning

One of the reasons it has taken me so very long to complete my Everyday Sweater zipper insertion is because I wanted to take some photos of the process and maybe even write a tutorial on it.

It has become obvious that this is NOT a sweater that will allow me show you 'everything you need to know' about inserting a zipper of your own.  This is one of the most straightforward zipper insertions that I have ever come across.

The applied i-cord edging all around the the piece (after blocking) has already made the corners as finished looking as can be.  My purchased zipper is a perfect length (requires no shortening) and the navy color was easily matched.  I will stitch the zipper in place by hand (as I do for most knitted garment zippers)... but I will not have to worry about how the stitches will look because... (1) The navy thread will also match perfectly making the stitches less visible, even on the wrong side, (something I can get fussy about)... (2) On the right side, the "well" where the I-cord is attached will perfectly both locate and hide the stitch line.


OK, that truly is a #1 BIG something that really is a part of 'everything you need to know' about inserting a zipper of your own.

I have carefully pinned the zipper in place.  Starting with the top and bottom...

and then pinning in between.  A cardboard backed tablet helped me keep the pins through just the front layer.

I folded the top edges of the zipper tape at an angle to match the start of the v neckline.

Note:  Because of the i-cord, the knitted edges will meet at the center of the zipper covering the teeth.  For most sweaters with zippers, the edges cover only the zipper tape leaving the teeth exposed.


And that is a #2 BIG something that really is a part of 'everything you need to know' about inserting a zipper of your own.

Photos of the hand-stitching will appear in my next post.