Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One Shirt Dress—Done

Well I think its done.. I am still toying with the idea of adding more machine embroidery—maybe on the collar, maybe on the sleeve. But I think there is enough. Maybe next time I make a dress, I will plan ahead and add more details and touches. I really think this is enough for now.

Some of you might recognize this fabric—I already have a skirt, a vest and jumper out of it. I call the set my Gone with Wind collection. The fabric original was used to cover up uneven wall in a commercial location where I worked. The store went out of business—(it was never planned to be a long term tenant or business location), the building was being gutted. We were just a “tax payer tenant” --a little bit of income (enough to pay the property tax) to the owner as he waited for the other tenants leases to expire. One of those rare, month to month commercial tenents.

Since the place was being gutted (they actually started to take down walls before we vacated the location!) I just helped a bit and took down the fabric that was wall treatment. Recycling fabric from the walls seems so much like Scarlet O'Hara recycling the curtains—that I dubbed all the various garments as Gone with the Wind garments.

And now, the gone with the wind fabric is gone. There are few scraps –that I have compulsively packed away—they may become patches, or something.. but there isn't enough to do anything REAL with.

The sweaters only had another inch added--(so they are now just past 5 inches) so I didn't bother to take a picture. Maybe there will be a significant change by tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


And then, failed again. So, the plan was to make a pocket with a flap (a detail I like.. I love button down pocket flaps, and sometimes just plain pocket flaps...)

And the plan was to trim the pocket flap with some machine embroidery—but since the pocket flap came to a point---the most natural thing would be to make the embroidery come to a point, too.

Several flap (and half a spool of thread) later, the plan changed! A pocket with an embroidered top cuff. No flap. And if any more embroidery was going to be added, a new spool of thread was needed!

All the failed tries at a mitered, embroidered corner had used up miles of thread. So the dress is still not finished. But it's getting closer each day. The embroidery thread comes in what looks like normal spools, but there is only half the yards of a regular spool—and wide, dense zig-zags use up a lot more thread than a simple seam.  Today, I will set in the sleeves, (and embroider them, too) set in the zipper, (this shirt dress is going to be a zippered one) and finish the  hem.

Yesterday in the afternoon, I was summoned to baby care—DD was taking a running class (she is running a 5K in a few weeks, and a half marathon later this year) and off I went.

I got some 4 rows knit on the way over to her house—so I did get some knitting got done. Once there, I decided to take the girls for a walk—and packed them up in their stroller. It was still beautiful late afternoon (it was still 63° an hour later when the news came on)--so off we went. Our destination was a local store that had some sewing supplies, our goal a single spool of the embroidery thread. Fortunately, the store had the thread-- well that is, a single spool in the desired color. I also got some buttons for the sweaters. They are not my favorite buttons, but.. I want to have the sweaters finish by the end of the week, and I will need buttons, to have that happen. We then continued our way around the block and headed home.

Back home after this short outing—Miss C was up in arms... Someone had wet her diaper, and she couldn't stand it! How could anyone be so mean? And she was starving.. Her mother never feeds her, she complained! Woe is me!

Her sister Miss J, was exhausted from the outing, and slept through all of Miss C's carrying on.
In short order she had a new dry diaper, and was feed, and became her cheerful self again. She backtracked a bit, and acknowledged, yes, she might have had something to do with the diaper getting wet, and yes, her mother did feed her, but she really was starving—all the fresh air, and excitement, who wouldn't be hungry? Didn't I know she was a growing child?

Miss J woke from her 20 minute nap, and she too was wet and hungry—but this time, I was prepared.. The changing table had everything handy (Well actually everything is handy, it's just I don't always know where everything is) and a bottle was waiting for her.. No fumbling with putting on a nipple or anything else.

Soon enough DD was home, (and the girls greeted her as if she had been gone for days, not 2 hours) and Daddy soon followed –and both girls clambered for his attention (and got it.) And then it was time for me to leave. I came home exhausted, and didn't knit a stitch after that.

Next week Grandma--(Dad mom) will visit and listen to all the girls stories..and for the next month after that, we will continue to alternate. But there will be more occasions with the girls. We (me, mommy and girls) are doing earth day together—and that is just next week! And they are having a coming out party this weekend, and there are doctor appointments, other occasions that will require our presence.

They are growing and changing by the minute—so it's good to visit them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Three, four, many inches more! With every row, they look more and more like sweaters. I want to add at least 4 more inches (for 8 inches from the underarm) and have resolved the bottom edge—a short ruffle. So 2 or so inches more of stocking knit, then another 2 inches in a ruffle and the body of the sweaters will done. I will work the sleeves flat (and do all 4 at once).

So at the beginning of the weekend, the sweaters were a scant inch below the underarm, (but almost 2 inches past the lace) and now they are just about 4 inches measured from the underarm. The yarn is pooling—and the fronts have resolved into uneven stripes, with a tweedy mix of colors in the back. Not perfect, but it's OK. I haven't bothered to work alternate rows with different skeins...I did that the first time, and I didn't find it made much difference.

I got some sewing done, too this weekend.. But I still have  not finished a simple shirt dress.  I did rework the pattern to start--First I re-enforced it.   I ironed the tissue paper on to some plastic coated paper so the pattern is now heavy grade! Then I made some changes-- I added a yoke.  So its a bit more shirt-dress

This time (this is the third time I am making this pattern), I added some machine embroidery, too. I am not sure how much I am going to add.. I am starting small. (I can always add more) I still have work to do—mostly stuff that 'crosses seam'.. I have the most basic parts done (front, back, yoke and pockets.)

And I've sewed up the sleeves and collar and press them as well, as well as all the seam on the basic dress. Now its time to bring all the pieces together, to sew on the patch pocket, the collar and sleeves.

That leaves the hem  to do.  Since the whole thing was made from scraps—and in theory, I didn't have the length to make a dress--some of the changes i made were to make use of the fabric I had.  The yoke helped,  to add some length,  the hem extensions will help, too. Besides, I like having some small variety—the pattern is a super simple one, so its easy to make these changes.   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Inching Along

Finally some progress!

Yesterday the yokes finally got finished, and now the sleeves have been sectioned off.

An inch (well actually more than an inch—but why quibble) is done on the body part of the sweaters.

The first version of the sweaters were a scant 20 inches.. (and the girl measure 20 inches at the torso) No ease, no room to grow. Now the body of the sweater is 26 inches (and the girls have grown to 21!)

With 4 to 5 inches of ease these sweaters will fit now, and later this year.. There body shape will change, but most toddlers are only 22 to 23 inches in the torso—so this newest version will have some room to spare.

The plan is to have them finished by next week—So the pressure is on.

Today I plan to sew up the dress I cut on Thursday--(and maybe get it finished!) and will work on the sweaters in the evening. This afternoon might find me at the crafts store in search of buttons.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Yoke is Done (again)

Well almost done, just 3 more rows, (a welt) with no Yarn Over's or K2togethers. I have corralled a bunch of markers, it's time to do the math and set the placement for the sleeves, and get them onto stitch holders.

I am thinking of continuing the lace columns down the body of the sweaters—but I haven't decided yet.. (it will depend on stitch count and where the lace lands on the body...

Stocking knit is boring but baby sweaters aren't that big, so it might be easier to just leave it plain.

That was Tuesday—AM--Since then, not much progress. Most of Tuesday was taken up with laundry--(all 4 loads washed, dried, folded, or hung up and put away!)--And another load sorted for later this week--(Spring cleaning means curtains, and throw pillow, and other miscellaneous cloth to wash—plus some cotton to preshrink before it gets sewn.)

The hard part of the sweaters—the last bit of math-- was done, and documented, the markers added...
Then yesterday, a busy morning, and no progress made (or posting, even!) Yesterday afternoon was unexpectedly busy, too. By the evening, I had no energy go knit. So nothing has changed (well 1 row of purls and markers added) has changed since the last photo (taken on Tuesday AM)

This morning—Some previously preshrunk cotton is getting cut to make a shirt dress—and tomorrow, maybe some more cutting (or sewing) —but first thing tomorrow morning I will be doing is visiting my lovely little granddaughters—and joining them on a visit to the doctor.

I have an urge to sew, and I am going with it. I have some lovely fabric, and some functions (nothing special)—but I still want some new clothes.

The long days are energizing—winters lethargy is finally abating. So now its time to make hay while the sun shines.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Third Time is the Charm.

Yes, third time. On Saturday I frogged the 4+ inches I knit back to the ribbing, and started again.

And this time I am satisfied with the look and size of the sweaters. Still lace spokes radiating from the neck but is better balanced, has  better increases, and is, over all, better looking. There is some pooling.. but well that is somewhat the nature of the yarn—and the pools are smaller this go round.

Late Saturday night, I made a mistake--the pattern is simple and these sweaters are almost mindless knitting.--but not mistake proof. I tinked it back 2 rows yesterday morning, and stopped there

I will make the sweaters long—babies change shape, and grow unevenly—I want these sweaters to be a bit big-- so they will still fit in the fall. They are being made with a super wash wool—It's not uncommon to have a few cool days in the summer—but bigger (not too small) is the plan.  I want them to fit for more than a week.   The girls are noticeable bigger than they were just a week ago—Out growing clothes every day.

I haven't bought any buttons yet, but I am thinking one sweater will get blue and the other sweater pink –to differentiate them a bit. The pooling does that a bit already--but its nice to have some differences.  My daughter doesn't make it a habit to dress them the same--well at least not all the time.  But she was "showered" with many matching outfits, and they do, at times, get dressed in matching outfits.  

Yesterday afternoon, the girls were receiving visitors—a houseful! Aunt and uncles, and great aunts and cousins—plus Nana (me). They got their deviled egg hats, too. The hats are still big---but fit better than they did just a few weeks ago—and they were very well mannered and wore the hats to be photographed. I am waiting to get the photos of them with the hats on.  My sister M is the photographer-- she sent dozens of images--but none featured that hats! (you'll have to wait till tomorrow).

I hope a the weather cooperates and presents a cool day when the sweaters are finished—and they will be as cooperative. Hand knits always look better on the human they were intended for.

And then there is this.. Finished and forgotten—I look at it and think I must be losing my mind. Why did I knit this? I hardly ever wear the shawls I knit, to begin with, and never this style of shawl--I like rectangular ones better, and full and half circles, and find triangular ones the least interesting and the least effective for me.. when I am cold, my arms are cold, and this will do nothing for my arms.  I like scarves—pretty lacy ones as accessories, and the occasional one for warmth. but i I ask myself again--why did I knit this?

It's pretty enough—but is one of those mad impulsive projects—totally useless! But is done.

Friday, April 04, 2014

A New Beginning

So yesterday I mentioned that I was giving up on the baby sweaters—I pulled them off the needles, and started some new sweaters—but I haven't frogged the work yet.

Here is a nice image of one of the sweaters.. Pretty, but way to small for 11 week old girls. I want them to have some use of them so sweater for them need to be a bit big right now—so they will still fit in another month (or 2 or 3!) This sweater is pretty--but newborn size--Take 2 will be six to nine month size. 

Here is the new beginning... and what a nice beginning it is. The same cast on –I like this cast on.. not quite a picot edge, and up close it looks almost like a tubular cast on—It's the Chinese version of long tail. This cast on alternates standard long tail stitches with one more like the I
Italian cast on—not to hard to do or learn, and a nice edge results.

More stitches this time—just a half dozen, to start, and a few more in the row of purls just below the ribbing,  but the result is a totally new stitch count. While I could have worked out the details and count for the zigzag petal pattern detailing.. I passed. This time, just simple columns of lace, radiating out from the neck edge. (Of course I had to work out the placement of the columns--but...)

Already in these first few inches, I am very happy with the results. The different stitch count has changed the way the yarn pools —I like the tweedy result much better than the pools of blue and pink.

I started with 10 ball of this yarn, and worked the yoke(s) in a single ball, and then had started using two balls (to minimize—or so I thought) the pooling of colors... I still had 4 balls of yarn remaining. I am using 2 these right now, and will have another 2 to continue. I'll unravel the work of the first attempt sweaters tonight or tomorrow, and wind the yarn onto skeins on my niddy-noddy, and then let them relax a while before making them back up into balls (or cakes, if you prefer).

I haven't decides if I am going to continue the lace columns past the yoke...but I have some time to think about what I am going to do. And to think about what sort of hats I will make to match the sweaters.