Sewing and Knitting

Time for long sleeve dresses. I had bought this fabric a few months ago, it’s a lovely Voile, which means thinner than quilting cotton, much better for garments.Here it is, a fun colorful dress.With pockets! Pockets are always good! these aren’t in the side seams, they are in the middle of the dress, very interesting construction.I had a weekend of visiting Art shows so why not wear something artistic? Good thing I did, at the Brewery Artwalk I met Teresa who commented that the print looks like one made by Barij. Yes indeed! I had recently bought another one of her prints on rayon – also destined to become a dress. Then I met Teale who also recognized the fabric. Others around the brewery simply commented on how they like the dress, even if they knew nothing about the fabric designer. I love getting those kinds of reactions.I knit a sweater for Eyal, perfect color for the season.It is probably a little big right now, that’s ok, he’ll grow.





sweaters and blankets

Have I mentioned lately how much I love knitting? Last night friends invited us for smoked brisket, yumm!  Their recently widowed neighbor was also there, at one point she asked the hostess if she knits, no, but Leah is an expert. She had a mistake in her first knitting project and had no clue how to fix it. It was such a pleasure to help her out, to discuss how knitting is such a therapeutic activity, to recommend the local yarn store as a source of both yarn and learning.  I sincerely hope to find out in a few months, that she is well on her way to becoming a dedicated knitter.

I think the last time I reported on knitting, this was the start of a sweater, from yarn bought in Las Vegas. Then a grandson was born and all plans changed.Yoch loves green. A good excuse to go out and buy some Malabrigo Rios.And start knitting a baby blanket. This is the first time I’m using superwash wool instead of acrylic for a baby blanket. I just couldn’t find the depth of color in acrylic. The other blankets I knit all involved switching colors, this time, I’m going with a cable pattern and the yarn needs to sing.I promised to wash this for them if they need. As yet they don’t have a washing machine, so dealing with a baby blanket that needs to be cleaned can be a problem.I knit like the wind, every knit, knitting away.There is a big difference in the skeins, which adds to the beauty.Done and blocked. I didn’t wet block this one, I went at it with an iron full of steam. It opened up the cable pattern a lot. I was able to deliver it on the day they came home from Ohio. It is now in storage, our weather is still hot. This little boy heats up quickly, we shall see how much this actually gets used.I’ve even had time to get back to the sweater. Using my new stitch markers to mark decreases. This pattern has a faux princess seam, which takes the sweater from cozy to tailored.I’m enjoying the knitting and will love wearing this little-knit jacket.




Yarny stuff

I don’t knit much in the summer, I even lay off socks. I recently finished that wonderful linen shawl, so it was onto another shawl, this time wool.I was too lazy to finish the row before taking the picture.  And then we went on vacation.Through the window of the cog railroad, I saw this crochet lace curtain. Very nicely done.Look at these adorable sweaters and hats! I’m sure they get a lot of use in the winter.These slippers are also very cute. Neither are hand knit, but they are made out of yarn, so I had to get some pictures.

I did knit some on the shawl during the trip, not as much as I thought, but it grew.Every designer finds a way to make the shawl shape a little differently. Which makes knitting more fun.I had packed my stitch markers and then promptly forgot when I got home where they were. So I scrounged around for some of my older markers. Even with stitch markers, styles change, although the plastic diaper pin made by Clover is always a good choice.Here’s the jumble of old markers.Here are the new ones.  These bulb, or gourd pins are the new thing. I saw a box of 1000 downtown for $10, so people in the sewing industry are using them as well. I don’t need 1000, pins, so I ordered these from Amazon, they came in all kinds of colors, which is fun.Nice lace pattern, not hard yet very pleasing.Question is, am I playing yarn chicken?  I bought enough yarn and even started the lace long before the required number of stitches. We shall see, I may have to get very creative with the edging here. Ah! The joys of knitting!




Linen love

I mentioned a while back that I would be knitting a shawl out of this linen.  Well, I did and I never took one picture while I was knitting. I started with a pattern, modified the body of the shawl with short rows, so it wouldn’t be so thin and narrow.  The lace edging was complicated, so I used the lace from a different pattern.

Once it was done, I didn’t take a picture, I did what I always do with linen knits, threw it straight into the washer and then the dryer.Washing linen softens and relaxes the fibers. Here it is, out of the dryer. Looking good, I got the shape I wanted. I was a little concerned that the lace would pull in on the body of the shawl. It might have, had I used any fiber but linen.Then I took it to the ironing board, blasted it with steam and ironed away. Looking at these two pictures it doesn’t look all that different, does it?Here is a close up of the before ironing.Here is the after, I stretched out the points and pulled on the lace a little more. Give it time, it will relax back. So the ironing may not have been necessary. It’s hot out! I didn’t want to pull out my tripod. So onto the dress form, it goes. You are probably noticing how each stage the yarn presents a different color.  I’m wondering is it the location of where I am taking the pictures, or is my camera beginning to lose its’ ability to be accurate with colors. Of course, some of the color came out in the wash, which is interesting, since not all linen fades like that in the washing machine.I do like the size and shape, I have a number of shawls that are so long, they are more like scarves. Others are minis and they just don’t keep my back warm.I’m one of those who as I have aged, I am cold most of the time. A little something to keep my shoulders warm and all is good. On a summer evening, a linen shawl is perfect, wool would just be too much.My latest linen shawl with the first one I knit about 5 years ago.It is very safe t say that purple is a color I love.





Slow and steady….

I have four quilts in different stages of being made. That is a lot for me, I usually like to make one quilt at a time. There are all kinds of reasons, or should I say excuses. Because of that my knitting has progressed at a snail’s pace.The Koigu shawl is finished! I ran out of the red yarn, who cares! Just use up the gray instead.These days my dress form gets more use to display items than to actually use for fitting. Looks better tied like this.Since it is wool, it will keep my back and shoulders nice and warm.I think it came out very pretty. Will I make it again? No, although it was good mindless knitting.I dug through my stash, I don’t remember buying this, so I must have gotten it in an exchange. I thought I’d start a pair of socks, then I realized I don’t feel like knitting socks right now.



Still making things

Many of my recent posts are about no idle feet, I’m out and about, but what about my hands?

No worries, I’m still busy making things.Like this round box for my friend. This is the second time I’ve used this pattern as well as Annies soft and stable.Roberta likes pink.Whats not to like?I am in a little bit of a funk with my knitting. I’ve been very slowly knitting away on a shawl of no particular pattern. So if it is very successful, it will still be a one of a kind. I’m using up the last of the Koigu yarn I bought many, many years ago. I’m not thrilled with the color combinatibn, but hey, I’m using up old yarn. How old? At least 10 years and it has some breaks in it to prove it’s brittleness.Finishing it off with some lace. If I run out of the red, I will switch to the grey. This really is just a haphazard project. I also won’t know how well it functions until it is off the needles. For all I know it will be a very awkard shape.Still sewing clothes. Now that the weather is hot, I’ll be making some more summer clothes I can wear right away.

There will be seperate posts about my quilting. At the moment that is really the craft I love the best.



It’s getting warm here, so why am I knitting hats? I took a craftsy class on short rows, turns out I’ve been doing it wrong all along, so I wanted to try out some short rows, not on a full sweater of course so – a hat.

I ended up buying the book Knitting Short Rows, the pattern I wanted was only available in book form.Oh my, this picture reminds me of my first year of marriage, when as an Orthodox wife, I covered my hair all the time. Things have changed!I used some handspun yarn that I had received as a gift a few years ago.  It is a fun slouchy hat and the short rows really give it the unique shape. It fits well on my head and slouches in the back.It is fun to see the yarn-play, the color gradations.Who knows, maybe I’ll have a chance to wear it before next winter.

This wasn’t the first hat I made out of this pattern, here is the first.Cute, but just a little small.I think I need to give it to Shira.I’m trying to use up old yarn, and this is very old, over 10 years. Koigu yarn, using the same book I’m going to make a shawl. When I wound the yarn, it did break in one or two place, that is what happens to old yarn. But it’s Koigu! I’ve saved it this long I need to use it!


Quilts and socks

I am home from Israel and eager to get back to my quilt.There were a lot of rip-backs, putting this puzzle together isn’t simple. Once I committed, that was it, even if the design isn’t that apparent because of the scrappiness of my fabrics.Either way, I am liking the result, this is very very different from most Storm at Sea quilts. I’m already thinking how the quilting will reinforce the tumbler shapes.

I ordered another ruler from Deb Tucker, it’s really two rulers. I had figured out a way to get the center economy block done with my regular ruler but figured that her precision would be better.This is a basic economy block. I don’t know why it has this name. The first one I made for the quilt – problem is, it’s too small. So I fooled around with my regular ruler and got the right size.When the measurements are accurate, everything fits in perfectly, notice how the points of the larger square meet up with the points on the diamonds. That is the desired result. Please don’t point out how it’s a millimeter off on the bottom, I’m a human, not a machine. This is as perfect as it gets in quilting.

So the rulers arrived and I read the instructions and got to work. I’m going to blame jet lag for the fact that I didn’t read the instructions well enough.Do you see how there is almost a quarter of an inch between the points! Not good! So after a good night sleep, I reread the instructions and now all is well. My economy blocks are fitting beautifully and yes, they are easier to make with Deb’s ruler. Am I tearing out this block and remaking it? Heck no!Can you see the problem now? If you can, good for you, but that really takes eagle eyes. I’m not replacing that block, I’m just going on and making sure the rest of the quilt is accurate.

Speaking of jet lag, it’s not a good idea to make things while jet lagged.

My good friend Vivian asked me to test knit some sock yarn for her. So I did.I knit one of the socks on the flight to Israel and finished it while there. Then I started the second sock on the way home and finished it while jetlagged here.Lovely right? Except I’m noticing that the right foot is a tighter knit than the left foot. You know those eagle eyes I was complaining about, here it is very obvious to me. Not to mention that the left sock is much looser.

Anyway, now I need to wear, wash and rewear the socks so I can give Vivian a report


Making the same sweater twice

I’ve never done this before, repeat a sweater pattern. There are so many patterns out there to choose from. So what prompted this repeat?Years ago I knit this sweater.  If it looks slightly out of proportion that is because it went through the wash by accident and it shrunk.  One thing the shrinkage did was make the neckline a better fit, it also made the design stand out a little more. Otherwise, it really doesn’t fit anymore.When knitting shrinks and felts it does so on its’ terms, not mine. When I got back into knitting 15 years ago, the felted bags were all the rage. But if a bag ends up with a different proportion than the original knitting – so be it.  Extra tight armscyes just don’t work.The collar wasn’t in the original pattern, I added it. Which means it was always a little big until the sweater felted.I don’t remember what yarn I used, clearly, it wasn’t superwash wool.So I reknit with Malabrigo yarn, which isn’t superwash either. So no machine washing. To be honest I have no idea how the sweater ended up in the machine. I always hand wash my sweaters. Oh well, life happens.Once again, the collar is a little too big. My excuse this time is that I am leaving for Israel and wanted to finish this quickly, so I rushed through. If I werentravelinging I’d come up with another excuse. There is a reason why I like well designed patterns, someone else does all the math.Years ago I used a similar Malabrigo yarn for a shawl. You can tell I really like this blue-green colorway.More buttons on this version. As I knit the button holes I hadn’t decided yet which buttons I’d use. I have the infamous box of buttons. (it’s more like boxes, but who’s counting!)These are vintage buttons I found at a show. Turns out I have exactly 7 of them.Impressive isn’t it, looks like hand embroidered buttons. Another reason to hand wash the sweater.Won’t remove them for the wash, with large heavy buttons I like to reinforce them with a small button on the back. They don’t match you say? Nope, they don’t, this is call using those mismatched button in a very productive manner.These, which clearly went through the washing machine without a hitch are from JoAnns. Like fabric, buttons come and go. I haven’t seen the like of these in years!


Sock weather

My friend Vivian dyes some beautiful yarns over at Hillviews Yarn, I didn’t take a picture of the skien, but I sure had fun knitting the socks.We are having real winter here in So Cal, I am wearing wool socks every day. My kids are dropping hints that one pair of hand knit socks just isn’t enough… As you can see here from the picture, one never knows how the yarn will knit up.  In one sock we have stripes and pooling, in the other, mostly pooling.Foolish me, I should have just knit a plain stockinette sock, but after the heel turn I decided to knit the leg in a rib stitch. Ribbing takes too much time! To frog back to the heel would be too difficult, so I didn’t. No one is going to get close enough to my foot to see that one sock has a little bit of ribbing….… and the other doesn’t. They both fit well and are cozy warm. They are also both beautiful, there is a time and place for perfection in knitting, socks are not that time or place.Here we have a closer look at stripes vs. pooling. Who knows why that happens? I saw a chart somewhere, an engineer figured out how many stitches would create each affect. It was a fun thing to read, but both these socks have 60 stitches and the yarn behaved differently. This is the beauty of hand knit socks – as well as how warm and cozy they are.

I mentioned another sweater, this yarn is Malabrigo. for some reason I don’t have a green sweater, well shortly I will. Also, look how bright green the grass is, what with all that winter rain we are getting.