Monday, April 14, 2014

FO's: Baby Stuffs

Baby stuff is so satisfyingly quick to make!!  I guess there's extra motivation when you've only got a few more weeks left in a pregnancy to "finish" everything on your to-do list.  In my case, I've had to put the Zig-Zag Quilt on hold because my free-motion quilting foot is on back order.  If I don't get it by this week, I'll just do simple zig-zag echo quilting and call it a day.

In the meantime, here are a few of the things I've been knitting and sewing...

Baby Booties


These are one of the quickest and most satisfying knitted items you can make, and these are made with all the mini leftover skeins I wind after a project so they're a bit of a motley crew.  These booties used sock and sport weight yarns and this pattern is called Christine's Stay-On Baby Booties.



Baby Items & Accessories

I photographed my latest sewing and knitting exploits together.  These include knitted and sewn hats, leggings, sleep sacks, etc.



From the top...

A) Hipster Cred Hat - made with SMC soft merino yarn in 2 colors - pattern from Dilettant Knits
B) Baby Bedtime Bag - made from a recycled t-shirt - pattern from Running with Scissors
C) Tie-Top Baby Hats - made with knit scraps - pattern from Tie Dye Diva via Sew Mama Sew
D) Baby Leggings - made from knit fabric and scraps for waistband - free pattern that came with Baby Bedtime Bag from Running with Scissors
E) Reversible Baby Bonnet - fabric scraps featuring prints from Tula Pink's Prince Charming - pattern from the book "Hat Shop: 25 Projects to Sew..."

And, I'm hoping that everything goes well in the next few weeks!  I'd love to get the quilt finished before baby comes.  Yep, I think I'm going to forgo FMQ plans and get straight to it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

MK Tutorial: Mitered Detail with Short Rows


This tutorial is a machine knitting tutorial that leads up to the publishing of my pattern, "Mitered Detail Cardigan."  The mitered detail in the pattern can be accomplished in two ways.  The first way described in the pattern, is with short rows (also known as partial knitting) and by wrapping each stitch as they are put on hold.  In order to best show what I mean, I made a video tutorial for this one...



Just in case it's too blurry in the video, here are detailed photos of what it looks like to "reactivate" a stitch into working position.

Wrap & stitch back in the hook part of the needle.

Wrap & stitch ready in working position ready to knit.

Here's a mini sample showing the detail on the front and back.  I think the color pooling of the yarn helps show the order in which things were knit.  The green section happened first, then the purple.  With WS (wrong side - in this case the purl side) facing, this block was worked from left to right.




Thursday, April 3, 2014

FO: Mitered Detail Cardigan II

Finished the second prototype!  I really like this version - I made one size larger, which extended the sleeves and front a bit, and that's made a huge difference in fit.  I should be releasing the pattern soon since the MKAL (machine knit-along) is almost done.


The pattern writing is nearly complete, and now that the sample is done, I can weigh it and make further yardage and yarn requirement estimates.  I can't wait to get it published!  I'm wondering, though, if I should get someone else to model the back... it's... well, it's a bit of an insecurity at the moment.  I'm feeling very large, and that's something I've never felt before.  It's taking some mental readjustment, but I'll come to terms with it soon enough.  I've just got this one body to inhabit, you know?


In the meantime, I'm so excited to have this very spring green, very wearable cardigan for the season!


Friday, March 28, 2014

MK Tutorial: The Garter Bar

Ah yes, today we learn a little bit about the garter bar- that tool which gave me nightmares until it made my knitting machine dreams come true!

I have an old-fashioned garter bar that I purchased on e-bay a few months back after not realizing that there was a difference between transfer combs and garter bars.  You live, you learn. This kit is a couple of decades old, but is in pristine condition.  Sadly, it came with sparse instructions in Japanese and German.  I do speak and read German, but the technical nature of the writing made it a bit tough.  So, after a bit of internet researching, deciphering the 1970's mimeographed illustrations and instructions, and a bit of trial and error, I photographed my process to share with you all.  It's also here to remind me how to use it in case I need a mental refresher.  Here goes...


Note: I'm using an Empisal Knitmaster 324 and a Brother Garter Bar so the conventions of my machine and garter bar may not be the same for yours.  I've used terms that make sense to me to describe parts of the garter bar, but they are not official terminology by any means.

The garter bar has two sides: one side has all bumps, the other side has all grooves.

1. Place working needles in D position with sts past the needle bed's sinker posts.  Place the needle stop over the working needles, over the sinker posts, but behind the sts of the work. Open all the latches of the working needles.  Place the garter bar onto the needle hooks with the groove/ditch side up


2. Lift the garter bar so it's parallel with the working needles.


3. Use the live sts to close each needle's latch over each garter bar tine.


4.  Slide the live sts over the garter bar tines, past the "waist line" of each tine.


5. Release the yarn from the carriage, and use a clothespin to secure it to the garter bar.
Set the carriage so the Russel Levers do NOT knit the needles in D position.
Remove the claw weights from the work, and then remove the garter bar from the needles with live sts still attached.
Next, remove the needle stop from the needle bed and push the carriage to the opposite side. Breathe.



7. Replace the needle stop over the working needles.  Turn the garter bar bump side up with the knitting work on top.


8. Open all the latches.  Make sure the garter bar is parallel with the working needles, and place the openings of each tine over the latches.  Remove clothespin. All the sts must be as far from the tine openings as possible (behind the waistline of each tine) before you proceed.


9. Push down gently on the garter bar, and slide it toward you.  Keep the garter bar as even with the needles as possible.  Here's the magical part... Each needle's hook should catch the underside of a single stitch.


Check the needles from above.  Every needle has a stitch?  Yay!  You're ready to move on!


10.  Replace the yarn in the carriage.  Remove the garter bar. Remove the needle guard.  Push the sts back into working position. Replace the weights on your knitting and knit 1 row in garter stitch!


Phew!  You did it!


Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WIP: Zig Zag Quilt & Mitered Cardi

This past weekend, I made so much progress, but alas, I did not finish the quilt.

I do have the quilt sandwich ready to go, and am strongly considering a straightforward quilt-job instead of FMQ'ing.  See, the sewing machine shop sold me a FMQ'ing foot for my new machine (more on that later), but I could not for the life of me figure out how to install it.  I don't think it actually fits my machine.  So, I'll go check on that sometime this week.  In the meantime, here's my progress!

I finished piecing the top...


Added a border and pin-basted it to the batting and back...


All I need to do now is quilt!

As for the second Mitered Detail Cardi, here's where I'm at...


I've got to sew the side seams, knit one more sleeve, and add the edging!  So close!

P.S. If you haven't already entered, there's a giveaway in the previous post!  Feel free to enter and win a quilted fabric pouch.