Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY machine knitting: striped cachemire scarf

my first machine knitting project after decades!

I made this scarf and finished last night. It's for my husband, and hopefully he'll like it!

I wanted to make it as a tubular, but the yarn I'm using it's way too thin for my machine, and by the time I was done with so many failure samples, I decided to make it in a very very long panel, folded in half and sew the sides.

I'm using 6 different colors of 2/28 yarn in 100% cachemire
this yarn is thin, a wee bit too thin as first project...  it was a bit of trouble!

I draw the pattern to get the idea of the stripes, and using my sample,
I decided for the number of rows of each color.

here's the pattern memo:

I started at the end of the work with scrap yarn.
I made the 196 rows of stripes (second column of numbers from the left - row count from the bottom up), then 700 rows in navy blue,
then 196 rows of stripes (last column of numbers reading - row count from the top down).
Then I knitted 1092 (= 196+700+196) rows in navy blue for the back panel.

the following picture is the one with the right colors.
the weather is being naughty and taking a decent picture in the past two days wasn't easy!
I casted on 100 stitches and worked in stockinette.
To make it easier to sew in a straight line on the sides, I closed the 4th needle on both sides.
(probably the 3rd would have been better, but anyway... it's done)
You can see that putting the two panels right-sides-in, I had a nice dotted line to follow for my seam.
Which I hand sew, with back stitch.
The top image is the edge hand stitched using
the smiles and frowns tutorial by Diana Sullivan 

Once again, the online community is great: I want to 
because honestly, after more than two decades without using a knitting machine,  I couldn't have made it without the huge selection of videos and tips.

Now that the ice is broken... I can't wait to get more things done !!

keep in touch! 

xox, d.

Monday, January 20, 2014

DIY drop shoulder sweater using short rows

this sweater is extremely fast to knit

I wanted a relaxed look sweater, with drop shoulders, but without all the bulk around the torso: so I came up (after knitting and un-raveling few times) with a pattern for shaping the shoulders using short rows.
Do not be intimidated by short rows. It's a simple technique and it's easy to learn:  this tutorial on is extremely well explained and detailed for anything you need to explore the "wrap & turn" [W&T]. 

The finished sweater

DIY - drop shoulder color-block sweater // supplies:

knitting needles size 5mm, 5-1/2mm, 8mm
crochet hook size 5mm
circular knitting needle: 5-/12mm

450 gr (for a size 2) - thick & thin yarn
(similar to this Euro Yarns Quick and Thick  and/or Rowan thick'n'thin )
150gr. each of white and grey fingering weight yarn merino wool, worked together to obtain a heather gray.

stitch gauges (fabric un-stretched but blocked)

5mm needles gray - 2:2 ribs = 10 stitches :7cm = 2-3/4"
                                                10 rows   : 3.8cm = 1-1/2"

8mm needles lavender - stockinette 10 stitches = 12.5cm = 5"
                                                        10 rows = 7.5cm = 3"

DIY - drop shoulder color block sweater // pattern:

front & back: 
Cast on 70 stitches with the grey/white yarn (I used the crocheted chain stitch cast on).
Use the 5 mm needles and work on 2: 2 ribs for 18 rows = 7cm = 2-3/4"
Change yarn and use the 8mm needles: you'll need only 43 stitches with the much thicker yarn, so proceed like this:

k3, *k2tog, k2tog, k1*, k2tog, k2tog, k2 = total number of stitches: 43

proceed knitting in stockinette for 28 cm = 11"  = 36 rows

waist detail

shaping the shoulders with short rows:

row 1 // k1, m1, k29, w&t, p 17, w&t, k29, m1 k1
row 2 // purl 45st
row 3 // k1, m1, k31, w&t, p19, w&t, k31, m1, k1
row 4 // purl 47st
row 5 // k1, m1, k33, w&t, p21, w&t, k33, m1. k1
row 6 // purl 49st
row 7 // k1, m1, k35, w&t, p23, w&t, k35, m1, k1
row 8 // purl 51st
row 9 // k1, m1, k37, w&t, p25, w&t, k37, m1, k1
row 10 // purl 53st
row 11 // k1, m1, knit until the last stitch, m1, k1
row 12 // purl 55 st

row 1 // k1, m1, k29, w&t, p 17, w&t, k29, m1 k1
row 2 // purl 45st
row 3 // k1, m1, k31, w&t, p19, w&t, k31, m1, k1
row 4 // purl 47st
row 5 // k1, m1, k33, w&t, p21, w&t, k33, m1. k1
row 6 // purl 49st
row 7 // k1, m1, k35, w&t, p23, w&t, k7, bind off 9, k18, m1 k1
row 8 // purl 21st  on each side 
row 9 // Right side: - k1, m1, k17, k2tog, k1   
             Left side: k1, ssk, k5, w&t, p4, p2tog, p1
             Right side: p1, p2tog, p4, w&t, k3, k2tog,k1
             Left side: k1,ssk,k15, m1 k1
row 10 // purl 19st on each side 
row 11 // Right side:  k1, m1, k15, k2tog  
               Left side: k1, ssk, k15, m1 k1
row 12 // purl 19st on each side

Place the back and front parts together, right sides in, and use the three needles method to knit together the shoulders, while binding off the center stitches for the neck opening of the back.

front and back joined on the shoulders with the three needles 
front and back folded on the shoulder with the shoulder shaped: 
don't be intimidated by the kind of "star wars" shape of the shoulders!
That pointy part will look perfect once worn.

the neck:
Neck detail
Using the crochet hook, pick the stitches around the neck opening and place them on the circular needle.
I picked up 80 stitches, worked on 2:2 ribs for 17 rows, then purl 1 row, then bind off.

the sleeves: 

Cast on 30 stitches with the 5 mm needles, and work on 2:2 ribs for 18 rows.
Switch to 5.5mm needles and keep working on 2: 2 ribs, increasing 1 stitch on each side every 4 rows until reached 54 stitches, then work until reached the desired length of the sleeves.
Mine are 39 cm = 15-1/2" long.

the sleeves have been sewn onto the drop shoulder with a back stitch onto open stitches

Like it?
apparently this was a 100% success, since I made another one during the Christmas break for my s-daughter. She saw mine and she agreed to help: since she is a begineer knitter, I knitted the grey parts and the short rows, and she helped doing the stockinette with the big needles.

So... two sweaters made in few days. It is THAT fast! give it a try!

xox, d.

keep in touch! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY felted clogs with leather sole

As anticipated in my round-up...

So far, I made two pairs of the same pattern from FiberTrends: a pair for my husband and a pair for my mom (I'm the one still without proper slippers).
For this time, I decided to knit the pattern with a single sole.

My mom's pair
My husband's pair (still without the leather sole)
I didn't have the exact yarn required by the pattern, therefore I made few samples as advised on the pattern: casting on 15 stitches and work in stockinette for 20 rows, then cast off.
After felting, the sample with the right yarn should be a 4" to 4-1/2" square.
I have a front loading washing machine, which makes things a bit tricky when it's about felting.
So I set the maximum temperature, load my washing machine with 4 large towels, and placed the clogs in separate mesh bags.
After the first cycle, the slippers were still big, so I did a second turn.
This is my sample, using a mix of royal blue and grey
of the same kind of wool.

This is the clog before felting for a sie 11 men's: 
I used the grey and royal blue for the sole and cuff, and plain grey for the top.

After felting, filled with plastic bags to keep the shape while drying!

DIY // making leather soles for slippers: 

I made the leather soles using an old bag that was no longer usable due to stains.
Cut the shape of the sole on a piece of card-stock, and measure on the sole of the slippers to make sure that is the right size.
Trace the shape of the sole using the card-stock template: once on the right side, once on the wrong side, so you'll have a perfectly matching right and left.

The pattern says that although the two clogs are knitted the same way,
whit use, there will be a right and left.
I decided to cut the leather soles already with a right and left side,
so I wouldn't leave any room for confusion :)
marked the soles with a dot every 1/4"
to save time, I put the two soles together
(and secure them by placing double-sided tape on the inner side)
and used my Punch Hole Plier to punch the holes on the marks 
I decided to take the extra steps of punching the holes because
the felt is really thick, and even using a leather needle would have caused me
severe bleeding.
I promise, 15 extra totally worth it minutes!
I proceed to sew the soles with a double strand of heavy duty upholstery thread 
(because the thickness of the felt, use the smallest needle you can thread: will make life easier)
Leave the "wrong" side of the leather on the outer side:
the suede will add grip to your steps.

These are my mom's knitted slippers before felting.
My mom wears a size 5, so I used the pattern of the size 6, with a smaller size needles.
Worked out perfectly.
For the cuff, I used a contrast wool... which didn't felt the same way as the rest of the slippers.
Added the leather soles.
And as you can see, the cuffs aren't perfectly shaped because of the
different yarn. 

So I decided to keep the cuff in place and add a red stitching.
Worked out well at the end!
xox, d.

keep in touch! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

DIY sewing kit in a nutella jar

If you like Nutella (and how can you not??) 

you'll love the unique shape of its jar.

This sewing kit in a jar was made for a girl that loves Nutella a lot. And love to sew, too.
Two birds with one stone kind of gift!

Using an empty Nutella jar (the large one) - uh, and in Italy the jars are made of glass, not plastic as in the US. 

I used a pretty purple and off white fabric for the top lid turned pincushion,
glueing around the top bias tape and ribbon.
I covered a regular 4-holes button with a small piece of fabric cutout from the bias tape, and sew the button in the center of the bow. 

pincuscion to be!

I used some felt in different colors to make a needle book, the scissors cover,
an embellishment for the thimble and a star to pin the safety pins.
Everything has been edged in mattress stitch in contrasting color using embroidery thread.

Sewing kit in a jar: supplies

 ... an empty jar of Nutella

-  Measuring tape 60"
-  Sewing Braid
-  Thimble
-  Chalk Pencil Set - Blue White
-  felt  (scraps) in different colors and embroidery thread for the edge stitching
-  needles, safety pins
-  various buttons in an organza bag
-  a small amount of fabric for the pincushion (a round of about 8" diameter)
-  ribbons
-  a small amount of filling for the pincuscion
-  Glass Head Pins
-  E6000® glue

xox, d.

keep in touch! 
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