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.

keep in touch! 

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