Tuesday, October 31, 2006

tutorial on how to sew horizontal shoulder seams

i am so sorry about the blurries. i didn't realise until too late (that is, both seams were done). hopefully they work as a kind of visual hint (rather than a visual guide) to help you understand my fabulous written instructions.

firstly: this is what happens when you get very frustrated, and try to use kitchener stitch to join the shoulders on a jumper where each piece is cast off. See how it looks weird and ruckered?

That is not what you want. You want delicious, smooth, invisible seams. So you pick apart the mess you have already made. You lie your two shoulder pieces facing flat, right side up, cast off edges butting up against each other. the back is the 'top' piece, and the front of your jumper is the 'bottom' piece. Take a tapestry needle threaded with yarn, and poke it through the very corner of the outer shoulder of the top piece. Leave a tail enough on the wrong side to darn in afterwards. Then, look for the first vertical row of Vs made by your wonderful stocking stitch. See the V closest to the cast-off edge in the very right-hand column of Vs? Slip your needle under that V. Like in the rather lousy picture.
Then, find the V closest to the cast-off edge in the far right hand column of Vs in the bottom piece. Slip your needle under the little bars of that V too.
Pull the thread to a nice, even tension. So it looks about the same as your actual knitting. Then, find the V in the second column from the right in the top piece. Needle under the bars, right to left. Repeat for the bottom piece.
Do it again, and again, moving along the columns. It should look pretty much like this:except not red if you aren't using red yarn. Don't fret about the colour.
When you're all finished, and all the Vs in the columns that butt up against each other have been stitched under, stick your needle through to the wrong side of the fabric. Darn in the end. And don't forget to darn in the other end too! Do it now before you forget!
Flip over the right side of your work again, and admire your beautiful seam. Even the camera likes this seam enough when it's finished to go back into focus.

Now go and have a cookie, because you, my friend, have just sewn together a beautiful shoulder seam.

Friday, October 27, 2006

like tomato soup for the psyche

(since i am none too fond of chicken soup).
there is little to report on the knitting front. i have exams and tonsillitis, so no stitches are rolling forth from my needles in the waves of stitch-soldier armies i dream of.

i ventured uncertainly out of bed this afternoon (the penicillin i was prescribed has made me feel worse than the tonsillitis did. i have built a little fortress in bed, with reams of lecture notes as walls) in search of a birthday gift, and i found the most fantastic greeting cards, by one Laini Taylor.
the christmas cards made me giggle - they said 'Merry Christmas to Nearly Everyone'. And for myself i got this lady:
only her caption read 'and what is it you want to do with your wild and precious life?' Since that is the sixty four dollar question right now.

i wish the store had have had this one:

i feel i should add a disclaimer that inspirationally sloganned greeting cards are usually one of my pet hates. but the kitschy collage style and slightly off-kilter messages are really doing it for me. blame my illness if you must.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

so many stitches, so little time.

Well, it turns out I just couldn't wait until March for a stitch dictionary. My need for more than the thirty or so stitch patterns in the weeny little dictionary I currently had led me to this:
It's out of print, so I had to pay what the ebay seller demanded for it. But, including postage it is a mere 1.49c per stitch pattern. I would have almost preferred the 1963 edition, which had (only) 900 stitches, but portrayed them in the lurid technicolour combinations that mark the sixties. Sadly, my 1985 edition is heavy on red-and-grey; or primary blue, yellow and green. I'll just have to use my imagination.

Here's another picture. I particularly love the cable in the bottom right hand corner.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


i went to another booksellers' trade night last night. i went unaccompanied by anyone from my store (which was a bit awkward, given that the first half hour is always a drinks&food&mingle thing, and i had noone with which to mingle). But the point was that it was a very glamourous non-fiction publisher with a tolerably interesting craft list.
And i got their 2007 catalogue.
March sees the release of '400 Knitting Stitches' stitch dictionary, with charts and text (and photos goes without saying, I guess). Available in the UK and Australia/ New Zealand. Unclear as to exactly what it covers (fair isle? slipstitch? cable, lace and knit/ purl patterns are a given, i would imagine).
Beautiful (as with all of Murdoch's books) cover - lush purple and green yarn all over. Heavy duty paperback. the kind with a sort of solid-ish plasticky cover. hard to explain, unless you go find a murdoch paperback cookbook. then you'll understand.
i think i shall hold off buying a stitchionary until this one comes out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

burn, baby, burn

not literally. but here's the promised progress pics on the pea pod/ burnout jacket.
i am tearing through it, desperate to finish so i can get onto other things.

Because the button band is knitted at the same time as the body I can't run the yarn up the side. Meaning I have a squillion ends to weave in. Lucky me.

On a better note this Sunday I am off to be a photography model for a friend (all things going well - this has been intended for so long, and keeps being cancelled because of our erratic schedules). Her photos tend to be portrait-style. The subject is individual and identifiable, not just some anonymous figure. Which is rather appealing. I'm hoping to scam a couple of prints off her, since I haven't had nice portraits done since I was a child. She wants me in all my crazy finery (read: silly clothes) - I'm planning to load up a carful. And take the knitting too. It would be nice to be captured doing what it is I do for fun. I have this vague idea that the eye-popping pattern of anatolia will look just fabulous against an orange plaid dress and black and white op-art tights. Or maybe purple mohair against a hot pink tutu...

Friday, October 20, 2006

burnout baby jacket

I bought the yarn today for a commissioned piece (for the lovely Ms. Vyvyan). Well, not for her as in her impending offspring, but for a gift for her friend.
The yarn is Shepherd brand Colour4Me 8ply. I've been using some Shepherd in Anatolia, and very nice it is too. Soft, bright and machine washable (i may know very little about children, but i assume machine washable is a pre-requisite). And cheap to boot.
Loving the assymetric front, i am using Kate Gilbert's Pea Pod jacket construction, but doing away with the lace and the cabled bands. Instead i'm going to put in burnout stripes - starting out with thick black stripes and thin red stripes and working up to thick red stripes and thin black. whether or not it ends up with spider-shaped buttons is Ms Vyvyan's call.
Pictures once I cast on.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

guess i quite like red and blue

here's an update on anatolia. Sleeve number one is just pre-elbow. I am quite excited.

And here is a dress, quite a bit older, but never yet photographed. It was Butterick #4790 (the retro whirlaway dress) and although marked 'Very Easy', and only made of three pieces, it took me twelve hours and i swore like a sailor. can't you just imagine me sewing that bias binding, all squillion metres of it, with a cartoon speech bubble stream of expletives flowing out in a string like the binding?
the fabric is some poly-cotton that I bought for $2 a metre down south. just something cheap to play with (i knew my sewing limitations before i started). and what you can't tell from this picture is that the bust darts went a bit wonky, meaning that when i wear it, i look like i have a breast with corners. an angular breast. very flattering.

this summer i intend to pratice a bit more though. i will make a sewing needle case, and another dress from a vintage pattern. and maybe even another retro whirlaway dress.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

bits and pieces

my IK sub runs out after the next issue, and i'm not going to renew it. when i bought it you couldn't get IK in my part of the world, unless i got an international subscription; and vogue knitting was looking pretty miserable at the time.
well, they're on a par now, i think.
but that doesn't stop me being excited about the winter issue. rambling rose, with colourwork, lace (and cables?) has jumped to the top of my to-knit list. though i'm mystified as to why it only seems to come in two sizes...

knitting has slowed to a crawling pace, because i have impending exams o' doom. while everyone else seems to knit and study (even my housemate embroiders and studies sometimes), i need to hold a pencil in my hand and underline things regularly else i'll find i've read for an hour and not absorbed a word. wielding needles and pencils simultaneously is beyond my skill level.
i have found, to my joy, however, that i can frog and study. yep! i can rip to my heart's content and learn. it's fun, even. so, the glampyre boobholder that was never especially flattering on me, and the one skein wonder that should fit a three year old*, are being plundered for their yarny goodness while i learn.

* it's not glampyre's fault. really. it's just i think she has broad shoulders and mine are skinny and i find the patterns just don't suit me so well. and i do have a remaining, wearable, much-loved one skein wonder, knitted in jo sharp silkroad tweed.

finally, loving elizabeth zimmerman, but having trouble forking out the cash for an entire book right now? Well, hopefully you'll learn a few things from this.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

invisible stripe scarf

I turned half of this:

into this:

Here is what it looks like on:

It was intended to be a gift for badly coloured boy's mum, because purple is her favourite colour, but i think the mohair is a little fluffy and delicate for her. She's an outsdoorsy, horse-riding, bush-walking, orphan-possum-rearing kind of lady. my housemate hinted pretty heavily that she'd like a similar scarf (she knows i have that one remaining ball), so maybe i'll just give this one to her for xmas. still doesn't solve the problem of what to do with the other ball. maybe a scarf for my grandmother.

the yarn was just fabulous to use. i am so disappointed that mango moon don't make the pash-mohair anymore. the nylon thread in it keeps the yarn strong (unlike other mohairs i've seen) and the colours it came in were just gorgeous. such a pity i only bought two of the purple. i remember a deep clean gold, a fuschia, a dark inky indigo, a blue-ish turquoise... *sigh* if anyone has any old pash-mohair they want to sell me, let me know.

It's just a step up from a regular old drop-stitch scarf, but it really is my favourite simple scarf pattern. Far more interesting to look at than refular drop-stitch, i just love how it's all loose and lacy, but stripy! both delicate and deconstructed, i think.

The pattern if you can call it one, is as follows:
175 yards (or thereabouts - i would have liked this a little longer, actually) of mohair yarn.
6mm needles. i really recommend bamboo, not aluminium. i started off with aluminium needles and they were just too slippery for the mohair.

Finished size: 26cm/ 10.3 inches wide; 103cm/ 40.5 inches long

Cast on 35 stitches.
Rows 1-4: Knit
Row 5: Knit, wrapping yarn three times (instead of the usual once) when you knit each stitch.
Row 6: *K1, slip the next two stitches off the needle.* Repeat to end of row.

Continue rows 1 -6 ad nauseum.

Knit Rows 1-4 once more, then cast off.

edit: copyright 2006, for non-commercial use (except for if your best friend tells you they'll pay you to knit one of these. then you have my blessing). Please let me know if you intend to reproduce the pattern en masse; and please ensure that this blog URL is visible on the reproduction.

Friday, October 13, 2006

anatolia details

alright, it's an old photo, but it encourages me no end.

excuse the mess

it gets that way when you're moving in and redecorating all at the same time.

obviously that bizarre blue streak through the header won't be staying (anyone know the code to fix that?); not will the white and grey text.
Now, while I can manage cleaning up over the next few days if you, as you navigate about, discover anything that happens to be hot pink, please let me know. There seem to be some hot pink bits lying about in the code still, but i sure as hell can't work out what they're doing.

to the knitting!
Works in progress:
- purple mohair drop stitch scarf, for badly coloured boy's mother
- anatolia, for me. i have been working on this unwieldy beast of a sportsweight jumper since march. i am on the first sleeve.
- uh... in the 'unlikely to be finished' pile is a marnie mclean Hooray for Me glove, and a bear.

Stash size:
Small. Fits in three small navy blue cardboard archival boxes from Ikea.

To do:
(what, aside from make the blog look pretty?)
- Knock off this pringle jumper
- The U-necked fair isle from VK
- My own delightful jumper-y things. To be specified later.