Wednesday, December 24, 2014

the Bonnie & Clyde smock stitch sweater

a vintage sweater inspired by Bonnie & Clyde!

Well.. here it is, a lot of smocking later, I finally finished my mom's Christmas present.

The sweater construction is just plain and boxy, but the smock stitch defines the waist and the cuffs.

left pic: from style alchemy collage by moi
To make my life easier for the smock stitch, I made a sample swatch to figure how many rows I wanted to smock (in my case 8 rows): so while working on the machine, I ran a contrast overlock polyester thread every 8 rows for the number of rows I needed my smock stitches.
This way the rows are nicely marked and there is no counting to do.
This trick was ended up being very helpful, although - if I had to do smock stitch again {not in the near future, for sure!!} instead of doing the smock stitch on the marked stitch - I'd do it on the next row: the thread came off quickly with the small 50 stitches swatch, but was a bit of work to remove it from the actual work: if I'd do the smock stitch on the row just next to the marker, the thread wouldn't be caught in the smocking and would be easier to remove!
Here's the link for the  how-to smock stitch !

The machine is set on H (half pitch) with all the needles in working position on the main bed, and 1 needle in working position every 7 on the ribber.

 ...and happy holidays!


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Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY: a felted beret

Paris calls for a beret!

I was in Paris in the past few days, and started to knit a beret: because when you're in Paris, you bet chances are you get taken by the Parisian mode!

I got home last night, finished the last few rows with the DPNs, felted, blocked and placed on the heater to dry! It was ready this morning and wore it already!

I sort of followed a pattern on Raverly: the Preyarn Beret by Elena Berezinskaya - this is a fast knit, very well detailed, free pattern. As usual, (I'm bad at following patterns) I made one modification on purpose and one by accident. Anyway, it worked out well and I'm really pleased with the result!

The "on purpose" modification: the pattern calls for 6 rows on stockinette stitch for the brim: I casted on with a provisionally cast on, and actually knitted 7 rows on stockinette, 1 row of purl stitch, and 7 rows of stockinette, this way, once the beret was done, I folded the brim in half and sew down the live stitches from the provisional cast on to have a thicker, fitted and slightly more defined brim.

The" by accident" modification: I did all my increases and decreases stitches stacked on top of each other, with the result that the hat has defined "slices": while felting and blocking, though, the slices get smoothed out and the result is a perfectly round beret.

from my instagram account

I used my set of Boye interchangeable circular needles: because I have a tight hand, I always put a tip of a smaller size on the non working needle, this makes my knitting much easier.
I used the smaller size connecting cable for the cast on, and later the 24 inches cable; while decreasing I knitted until I could (about 81 stitches) with the circular needles, and then I switched to the Boye 7-Inch Aluminum Double Point Knitting Needles (size 6US - 4mm).

The yarn I had is the same yarn I used for the felted clogs I made last year, I know it shrinks a lot once felted, so I decided to knit the bigger version of the pattern, even if my head is 54cm/ 21-1/4" diameter. 

Once finished, I felted the hat by hand rather than in the washing machine: it's a small item, and the hand felting took me about half hour, much faster than a cycle in the washing machine: also,  by hand felting I was able to keep the felting process under control. Really happy with the whole process and result! 

Now... I'll be busy making a matching scarf!

xox, d.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

skeleton scarf: crochet filet pattern

this skeleton scarf is something to be obsessed about!

I loved this scarf by Fabienne Gassmann since I first saw it!
and there is a PATTERN,  too!

Fabienne Gassmann scarf

Self Portrait Skeleton scarf by Fabienne Gassmann- collage by moi

I'm not very good at filet crochet (I don't like to follow charts) but I might give this one a go!
(in this post HERE I linked several tutorials to learn to crochet!) 

have fun crocheting your way!

xox, d.

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pinterest - instagram

Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY amigurumi cufflinks

Looking for a fun, manly gift? Make cufflinks.

When "The Amigurumi guru" Kate Alinari  was looking for a tester for a new pattern, I volunteer immediately.
For many reasons: 
a - she made a pattern for cufflinks
(seriously? crocheted cufflinks? can things get more perfect??)
b - never tried to crochet in small scale, and try on a small project was my best bet.

Result: success!!

Initially I thought I'd make these for my husband (for the non business-like kind of days). But then I thought he has so many cufflinks and I could use few more. 
Reason to keep the smiley face cufflinks for myself?
They match my newer version of the smiley face bracelet.

Reason to keep the evil eye cufflinks for myself?
I am in a "evil-eye" phase. That's it.

The pattern is HERE, comes in 4 different variations and (last, but not least) is offered in Italian and English (translated by very truly yours...) 

Wait no more, start making something that will leave your friends jaw-dropping. 

xox, d.

keep in touch! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DIY: menswear panelled pullover inspired by Tim Coppens

sweater-weather applies to men, too!

Finally few days of perfectly clear weather, so I could have my husband modeling my last fatigue!

This sweater was inspired by Tim Coppens panelled knit pullover. I used a thinner yarn since my husband loves thin sweaters, so this is one of the reasons he doesn't complain [too much] about my knitting machine purchases.

left: Tim Coppens panelled sweater / collage by moi

The yarn it's a 2/14 merino / alpaca 
and is the same I used for the lace scarf: it's Baruffa "River Tweed"

Panelled pullover // execution:

The front and back of the sweater are knitted on the main bed up until two rows before the armhole, then I transferred all the stitches on the ribber's needles, and transferred 3 stitches on the main bad every 6 rows to create the ribbed effect.
The reverse stockinette knitted on the ribber worked fine, although it was just for few rows.

NOTE: once the pieces will be finished they will look absolutely WRONG! The ribbed parts will make the pullover ultra skinny and extra long: but fear not! Let the pieces relax for few hours, then give it appropriate wash and blocking and will look just as it should be. 

charts for the pattern were made using Excel - this sweater is a size men's Large.
if you want to print them or modify them CLICK HERE

I hope the chart is clear, but if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to ask for details!

xox, d.
keep in touch! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DIY - details inspired by Jil Sander

Jil Sander means clean lines 

and details that make the difference

When my s/daughter and I bought this black cashmere yarn we thought she would make something knitted by hand, so we had it put on a cone with three strands - this is a 2/14 yarn x 3, so rather thick, to be knitted with size 5mm or 8US needles.
top photo: Jil Sander // collage by moi

Little we knew at the time that I'd go crazy with my knitting machine, and apparently now she's pretty taken, too!
So there you have it - a sweater with some details stolen from Jil Sander.
Slanted sleeves on the front and a split neckline.

picture was taken after the sweater was worn  a couple of chilly nights watching TV on the couch...
that's why the wrinkly elbows and the rather stretched hem. :/
she was leaving, so I didn't have the time to get better pictures!

The execution: 

This sweater sits just after the waistline, shaped on the bodice, with darts in the front for better fit.
The back is longer than the front which wraps the shoulders, creating the slanted line seams in the front with the unique shape.
The neck has two slits - and the back part of the neck is rather longer than the front, which, again, gives the pretty, small details touch.
This pullover is a size M for a very skinny girl / the sleeves are gloves/like fitting.
Please check the measurements.

If you're going to knit this sweater by hand,
gauge is: 10cmx10cm (4"x4") 19.5st x 31 rows
Because the yarn is so thick, we had to use in stockinette at tension 9, but we had to come out with a plan for the ribbing parts.

needle arrangements for 1:1 ribbing with thick yarn
1 needle in working position every other 3 
NOTE: I casted on using the "broken toe" method,
this is why you'll have:
*odd number of needles/stitches
first and last needle has to be on the main bed,
*row counter at zig-zag at 2


cast on 89 st
1:1 tubular - 3 rows
1:1 ribbing - 19 rows
set row counter back to 0
machine knitting: adjust your needles to work stockinette (it would be every other needle) and tension dial on 9.

decrease 1 stitch on each side at row 5 - 10 - 15:  total # stitches at 15th row: 83
work on plain stockinette until row 33
increase 1 stitch on each side at row: 34 - 42 - 50 - 58 - 66: total # stitches at 66th row: 93
To make the darts in the front:

1" before the armhole (ROW 66):

-stop the row counter and place the carriage on H
-on opposite side of the carriage, place on hold position (E) 
-4 needles on each side for 3 times, and 3 needles on each side for 1 time.
-Place weights accordingly.
-Start the row counter, 
-lace needles in working position and keep knitting.
hand knitting: at row 66 start working the short rows for the darts using the W&T (wrap & turn) method.

keep knitting up until row 73
at 74 start shaping the armhole:
row 74 - bind off 4 stitches at beginning of the row
row 75 - bind off 4 stitches at beginning of the row
row 76 - bind off 3 stitches at beginning of the row
row 77 - bind off 3 stitches at beginning of the row
row 78 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 79 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 80 - decrease 1 stitch on each side
keep knitting up until row 109
row 110 start shaping the neckline and shoulders

Front: neckline and shoulders 

knit accordingly to the chart below:
if you want to print the PDF file, click here


The back is knitted exactly like the front - except the darts for the breast fitting. 
After the armhole shaping, keep knitting until row 131, and then shape the neckline and shoulders accordingly to the chart below:

if you want to print the PDF file, click here


cast on 39 st
1:1 tubular - 3 rows
1:1 ribbing - 19 rows
set row counter back to 0
machine knitting: adjust your needles to work stockinette (it would be every other needle) and tension dial on 9.

Knit on stockinette, increasing 1 st at each side at rows: 16 / 32 / 48 / 64 / 80 / 96 - total n. of stitches at the end of increases: 51

Keep knitting up to row 113, shape the armhole exactly like the armhole for the front and back starting at row 114. Total n. of stitches after armhole shaping: 31

Keep knitting up to row 147, then start shaping the top of the shoulder, by decreasing in the following way:
row 148 - decrease 1 stitch on each side
row 150 - decrease 1 stitch on each side
row 152 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 153 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 154 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 155 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 156 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 157 - bind off 2 stitches at beginning of the row
row 158 - bind off remaining 15 stitches


For the neckline:
front : cast on (same method as before) 35 stitches for the front side and knit in 1:1 ribs  up to 20 rows
use ravel cord for 1 row and few rows with waste yarn 
back: cast on (same method as before) 45 stitches for the front side and knit in 1:1 ribs  up to 24 rows
use ravel cord for 1 row and few rows with waste yarn


Sew all the parts together.
Sew the neckline parts on live stitches with a back stitch, then sew together half way through the slits.
Hide the ends, wash in warm water, rinse well, place in the middle of a couple of towels, roll up the towel and press to get most of the water out, lay flat to dry.

This sweater was the first machine knitted project for my s-daughter: here she is, getting busy with the transfer tools while doing the shaping of the bodice!
I could have picked a rather simplified project as her first one, but this is what she wanted, so she was (tired) but extremely happy with the result (she DOES appreciate a good challenge!!!)

I hope this pattern was clear, but please don't hesitate to contact me if you need some explanation!

xox, d.

keep in touch! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY desk with saw horse brackets

my desk/knitting table is complete ... and it was DIY designed

The desk is made out of three pieces - with these dimensions
Using plywood for the most parts (cheaper than other materials) 
at the carpenter's shop WIP

the legs are Sawhorse heavy duty Brackets - worked out extra well,
since most of my furniture have orange accents! (only two sets needed)

the three pieces are hold in place with biscuits on the sides and
window locks

for cable management - drilled holes and covered with three
 plastic cord grommets / hole covers - 2" diameter

It's not perfect, but mostly hidden
an extension cord outlet lays onto the bracket and it's hold in place with zipties
this is the corner support - still needs patching - the grommet on the desk top is right in the corner
the support is hollow and the cables can pass through
the edges are smooth and was used a "ribbon" veneer of Europly,
giving a nice finished edge
xox, d.

keep in touch! 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

DIY - machine knitting: fancy lace scarves in two hours

A scarf like this. In two hours: you got that right!

For my mother in law's birthday, I decided to make her a pretty lace scarf that would be ideal for the first cold, nippy fall days.

in front of the window, from my instagram

Then, I liked it so much, I decided to make another one for me in a pretty linen-cotton blend.

I bought a pretty merino/alpaca yarn on Ebay (this one) and thought it would be perfect for this project.

love these speckles!!
Now I'm thinking to make another one, for myself... and I'm thinking cashmere this time! 

I saw this scarf called "racked magic" on Knit-it-Now, it's a double bed scarf, reversible, and once you get the hang of it, it goes really fast.
I tried the tutorial on knit it now step by step, but I ended up making few changes. 

Cast on a multiple of 8 + 4 stitches.
I didn't use the e-wrap cast on method, because I don't like the look of it, so I casted on using the chain stitch cast on.

After that, knit on the first bed 8 rows. I suggest to use a much lower tension than you'd use for the rest of the scarf.
I did NOT do this on the woolen scarf, so the rolled edge looks much wider than the rest of the scarf.
On the linen scarf, I knit the 8 rows for the rolled edge at the beginning and the end at tension 2, while the rest of the work is done at tension 4.2. It turned out much prettier this way.
(look at the edges on both scarves in the first two pictures!)

Then pull up the ribber (rack on 5) and get the needles set: 4 needles on the main bed, 4 on the ribber, ending with 4 needles on the main bed.

Now set your ribber on H.

From now on, you'll knit 2 rows and move the rack to 4, then knit 2 rows, move the rack to 3, knit 2 rows, move to 2, and so on until you'll get to 0.
Once you get to rack 0, knit two rows, then move the rack back to 1 and knit 2 rows and so on until 10.
Here's where I made mine different than the one on the video on knit it now: I didn't repeat the two rows once I got to 0 and then back to 10.
So my sheet to keep track of the rows and racking looks a bit different.
The result is that where the two beds cross you'll see more of a diamond shape rather than an oval shape. No big of a difference, but I like it better.

image from knit it now

click on the link rake lace scarf row count sheet  if you want to download and print the sheet to keep track of the racking !
Always start and end the scarf at the rack 5 position, so you'll have a balanced repetition.
Once you're done with the motif, pass all the needles on the main bed, and knit 8 rows.
Bind off loosely.
I used the bind off around the pegs, I found it less tight and much faster.

Note: pull up the needles on each side while racking: my machine wasn't working the stitches right at the beginning, but worked perfectly once I started to put the needles at each edge on the main bed onto the E position!

Another note: if for some reason you have to stop the work, do it with the carriage on the LEFT. this will save you for trying to remember wether or not you've already shifted the rack.

woolen scarf:
84 stitches
yarn: Baruffa 70%merino 30% alpaca 2/14
tension 4.2
8 rows stockinette + 522 rows motif + 8 rows stockinette
dimensions: 30cm x 147 cm (11-7/8" x 57-7/8")

cotton linen scarf:
100 stitches
yarn: Lanar 50%cotton - 50% linen 2/20
tension: stockinette 2 // motif 4.2
8 rows stockinette + 562 rows motif + 8 rows stockinette
dimensions: 35.5 cm x 180 cm (14" x 70-7/8")

give it a try, it's such a rewarding knit!


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