Thursday, March 08, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 6: Finished!

You've seen me making this purse along the way, so there's not much to say now except ... hooray!  We had an unbelievably nice day last Sunday when I took these photos.  I felt like I was getting sunburned!  It was 75 degrees out.  Insanity for around here.

I added a pin back for the flower so Perrin can take it off to machine wash the purse.

Ahhhh.  Feels good to be done. :)  

Next week I'll introduce you to the next "Featured Craft Project" on my to do list.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 6: Actual Steek

... and then it was time to steek the real sweater!

I was a little baby about it and started on the clean edge that had no yarn ends.  So slick looking!  I usedEunny Jang's crochet Steek Tutorial as my guide.

I picked this crazy green because I love purple and green.  The wonderful part is the steek is completely hidden on the inside of the sweater, so I could have used any color.  It's fun to see the little pop of green when I'm putting my sweater on.

And now the side with a million-and-one yarn ends.  Ridiculously, I discovered that I'd lost a stitch on the edge about halfway through the sweater.  I had to adjust my crochet line to move over a stitch since I was steeking one stitch away from the edge.  It's not noticeable, but gah, what a terror moment when I first saw it.

I took this opportunity to remove the weird L-shaped edge where the V-neck meets the curve around the back of your neck.  I'd noticed on ravelry that people were getting little poofy pouches there when they added the ribbing.  Because I was steeking, I could just cut off the extra!  Woohoo!

  A quick try-on before I sew along the furry side and then cut all the ends off.

Oh, triple purple sweater, I love you!  I was having trouble taking the sweater back off to work on it.  Then, when it was time to do other things involved with living ... I kept wearing the sweater in this state because the Knit  Picks Comfy yarn is so soft and warm.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 5: Swatching the Steek and Ribbing

I wanted to steek the front edges of my sweater to allow me to cut off the myriad of ends the stripes left.  I was a little worried though, so I swatched the whole thing.  As hilarious as it sounds, at times like this, I feel like a master painter making a detail practice painting ...  it's the same kind of thing, right?  Practice makes perfect. ;)

I knit a whole swatch of the stripe pattern and even did the bottom ribbing.  Then I steeked the "furry" edge of the swatch.

So pretty on the top!

So pretty on the bottom!

I tested out several different stitch patterns to secure the yarn ends.  I  have to sew my steeks to secure them since I'm not using wool (which would stick to itself).

More test stitching.

And the bit I left without any stitching at all ... which I then tugged on a little, just to make sure I really did need to stitch the steek.  The answer was a resounding, "Yes!"

Next I tested out adding the front edge ribbing.

I tested out picking up different numbers of stitches.  On the left is way too few picked up stitches and the right is way too many.  I pulled out one of the sides and finally found a number that was "just right", which is 3 for every 4 rows.

Friday, March 02, 2012

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Above and Below

My husband Andrew has been selected for his third juried group show in the four months since he started submitting work to galleries.  This show is called In Your Dreams.  Andrew's photo, Above and Below, was one of 40 photos selected (out of around 1650 entries!) to be displayed in the gallery.

Three things about Andrew's photo make it very special to me:

1) It is an un-manipulated, in-camera double exposure.
2) One of the two exposures is a candid photo.
3) Each of the exposures required very different, manually input camera settings.

The magic of Andrew's shot is that he captured these two images — in sequence, in the moment — from scenes that were dynamic and fleeting.  And yet, none of this was as haphazard as you may think.  He knew exactly what kind of image and mood he wanted to create.

Capturing this confluence of elements  ... this exact way ... is both spontaneous and precise, combining otherwise unrelated scenes into a single composition with a logic, feeling, and atmosphere greater than the sum of its parts.  I feel like this is similar to the way our minds bring together disparate thoughts and images to form our dreams, making the photograph very well suited to the theme of the gallery's upcoming show.

When I can, I spend time with Andrew out in the world while he's taking photos.  Sometimes we take long walks through the city.  Sometimes we find a spot and let the city come to us.  At those times, I take a craft project to work on.  Just two days after he took Above and Below, he took this double exposure of me knitting with DPNs.  I love how I look like I'm speed knitting!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 5: Finishing the Lining and Loopy Felt Flowers

Now that I have thread, I could make the lining.  There was a freakout because I couldn't find my personal lining instructions that told me exactly how I normally make the interior pocket or where I normally sew in the label.  

I've looked everywhere and it seems those handwritten instructions didn't make it through the move from Philly.  I've started re-documenting the process.  Maybe I'll update the lining tutorial to include this "fancy" info so I can't lose it again. :)

I also finished the embellishment.  Using this felt flower tutorial I made an awesome loopy flower.  Such a great, simple tutorial with excellent results.  When I came across that link, I knew it would be a perfect match for Perrin's bag lining.  I found the cutest little button for the flower center in my stash!

I tried making the blue part have super-thin loops.  It looked really awesome, but the acrylic felt started pulling apart at the loop ends.  It would probably work with wool felt, though.  Different loop widths and lengths could look amazing in the right layers.

How you thread your "pull tight" stitches through the loop strip make a difference in how your loops lay.  For the blue one, I went in and out every loop which oriented the loops sideways.  For the cream one I skipped every other loop. so some loops are sideways and the skipped loop pops up on top.  If you're going to make these, I encourage you to experiment!

Just a couple of finishing touches left.  I'm almost done! :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 4: Dealing with Yarn Ends In Arms

When I was knitting the arms, I would carry the yarn if I was only skipping over two rows, otherwise, I would cut the yarn.  There were dozens of ends along the seam where I was making color changes and cutting the yarn.

When it came time to do the finishing for the arms, I looked at a ton of different ways to weave in ends.  I really liked what is basically duplicate stitch on the back.  See how I'm weaving in the ends below?  It's a beautiful thing!

These photos show me weaving in the light purple yarn.

This shows both the end of the dark yarn and the beginning of the light yarn woven in on either side of the seam.

After weaving in 6 ends (three side-by-side sets), I tried the sweater on and discovered that weaving in so many ends so close together resulted in a stiff, lumpy fabric along the underside of my sweater arm.  The result was very unattractive and uncomfortable.

So I unwove all those ends.  And I stared at them.  And all I wanted to do is just cut them all off.

So I did ... after some hand sewing. :)

I threaded the blue yarn up the middle of the seam as a guide from the right-side of the fabric because it was easy to tell where the "seam" was from that side.  

Then I turned the sleeve inside out.  With all the carried and cut ends, the seam was less obvious.  The blue yarn was a super helpful guide.

One stitch to the left and one stitch to the right, I sewed up along the "seam".  When I came to a yarn end, I went through the yarn, then around the yarn, then pulled the thread tightly, and then I knotted the thread.  

I had to go up both on the left and right because when I started a new yarn, the end was on the left and when I broke yarn, the end was on the right.

Here's another shot of my sewing with the ends snipped.  I'm going to leave them just like that.

The last bit of finishing for the sleeves was to sew up the "seam" from the outside for extra security.

The next time I do color changes in a tube like this, I want to carry the yarn along the seam and just twist them every row.  This sweater only has 3 colors, so there would only be 2 yarns being carried at any given time, which wouldn't be too bulky.

Does it freak you out that I hand-sewed the seam and cut the ends short?

SPOILER ALERT: I'm already done with this sweater, but I still have a couple of posts left before I do the big reveal.  I only admit this because I've worn the sweater 3 times already *and* machine washed & partially machine dried it and the "seam" is superduper awesome.  So, no need to worry that the whole thing is just going to fall apart as I wear it.  This totally worked, as janky as it is. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 4: Buying Thread

I made it to the fabric store last weekend and, as promised, I picked up a rainbow of colors!  And some sorely needed neutrals.

Now that I see the haul with the fabric, I should have grabbed a light lime green, too.  I can't wait to use each of these colors in a project!

I plan on using this turquoise to sew the lining and this tan to sew on the label.