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.

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! :)

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. :)

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.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Crochet Heart Scarf - Free Pattern

You may have already seen this over on CRAFT's site, but just in case you didn't, I designed a crochet pattern for them ... this cute crochet heart scarf.  

I know I'm not giving you much lead time if you want to make one for V-day, but it's a quick crochet, so you could make one tonight if you don't have anything else planned.  Grab some yarn out of your stash, put on The Princess Bride, and get stitching!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 3: Fixing Too-Wide Armholes

As I suspected, the arms on this sweater were much bigger than I wanted them to be.  They might be the right size for layering over button up shirts, but I wanted a closer, smoother fit, so I went back and made some adjustments.

Several times.

Four, I think, before I got it just right.

But first, here's some photos of what I have come to call the flabby sweater arm.
Someone was making me laugh!  The arm on the left is fixed, and the arm on the right is the pattern as written.  The arrows are pointing to the flab.

Now, my upper arms are thicker than most.  I know this because when I try on shirts that fit everywhere else, my upper arms are often squeeeeeezed.  So I don't like anything extra going on around there.  The little bump you see was mirrored by a bump on the back.

It's difficult to photograph this, but the lumpiness was simultaneously in the front and the back.

I'm looking at these photos and I can see the the lumps don't look all that bad.  In the photos they look like normal ease in the arms of a sweater.  But trust me, in person it was too much ... it's not me having delusional upper arm body image issues. Ha!

Here is the nice, neat, fitted arm after my mods.  Ahhh, look at that perfect fit. :)

This whole thing was actually a blessing in disguise because I totally forgot to cross the stitches at the armpits.  Here's what I did:

Row 1: Starting at center armpit, p/u 6 stitches (5 normal p/u one row below co edge and one stitch to the left of the last column), knit 3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, knit until last 10 stitches remain and k2tog, k3, k2tog, k3, p/u 6 stitches (one stitch to right of column and 5 normal p/u one row below co edge).

Row 2: knit all, except at corners with the extra p/u stitch where I k3tog with the extra stitch on top of the two stitches on either side of it.

That's it!  Just two rows of extra decreases on either side of the arm pit got rid of my unsightly sweater flab.  It took some experimenting to keep from creating a strange bulge near the decreases.  My first couple of tries made the sleeve look like a puffy mutton sleeve.

I will probably make this sweater again.  Next time I will adjust the sleeve stitches so I end up with the right amount without the decreases ... I think.  If I can figure out the math and it doesn't throw everything else off. ;)

And I will remember to cross the stitches at the armpit!  I will.  I will. I will!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Perrin's Starling - Part 3: Starting the Lining

I have a little progress to report on Perrin's Starling ... and a little is better than nothing.  Baby steps, baby steps.

Two weeks ago I picked out the tear-away stabilizer from the label.  If you've ever done this, you know it's more work than it seems.  :)

Last night I pulled out the ironing board, the cutting mat, and set up my sewing machine.  I was going to stay up a little later than I should have and finish sewing the lining.  I was thwarted by a lack of coordinating thread.  I could hardly believe it: no white, no cream, no blues or greens that match the fabric.  

It might be a couple of weeks before I can trek over to a fabric store, but when I do, I'm buying a rainbow's worth of spools.

I had to put everything away, so I pinned the lining and the cut-out pocket to the ironing board before I slipped it back into the closet so it will stay nice and flat.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Purple Stripe Sweater - Update 2: Color Change At Ribbing

Even with the stripes, this is a very quick knit on 5.0 mm needles.  I sped through the body and did everything according to the pattern ...

... until ... haha, you knew there was an until, right?  

I didn't make the sweater as long as the pattern suggested because I like my tops to hit at the widest part of my hips.  I find that it's a great way to break up the bulk down there and having the shirt flare out accentuates my waist.  It's probably against the rules, just like horizontal stripes, but that doesn't bother me.

(OMG, see how big that armhole looks?  I'm trying to ignore how freaky big that hole is.  Just keep knitting.  Just keep knitting.)

The pattern suggested that you go down a needle size for the bottom ribbing.  I thought that would pull in too much and make the cardigan balloon-ish.  So I did two test swatches.

My suspicion was correct.  4.0 mm needles made the ribbing way too tight.  Both of the swatches are exactly the same number of stitches across and down.  The smaller needles also make a shorter row.

I was even tempted to go up a size to do the ribbing so it wouldn't pull at all.  But the sweater is cotton, so I figure it'll stretch a little and loosen up. We'll see.

A super-happy consequence of swatching was that I noticed the problem with starting 2x2 ribbing in a new color.  It reminded me of a striped ribbing trick I learned from Color Knitting The Easy Way:

The trick is, if you're knitting stripes and ribbing at the same time, to knit every stitch the first row, then go back to the ribbing on subsequent rows.  Ta da!  No dashes mucking up your stripey stripes.