Tag Archives: cardigan

Sewing, Knitting & Quilting

It’s been another random week here at Casa de Craft.

I made another bag I’m really happy with:

(fancy pocket inside)
These bags are addictive. I want to make more!!! I’m getting all sorts of ideas. It doesn’t help that Saturday evening I got some great inspiration for bags as well.
Of course I’ve done some knitting. This is my Ravelympics sweater all blocked. I sorta didn’t do a gauge swatch. I sorta forgot I was working with alpaca which grows like a 2 year old. So it didn’t exactly turn out like I had imagined it would. Not incredibly in love with it, but I have to keep reminding myself it was just supposed to be a nice comfy cardigan to wear.
See that quilt in the background?
Here’s a close up:
Anything wrong?
Yeah, I’m missing one lousy lime green square. I really don’t want to go buy another fat quarter to fill this in, but I think I’ll break down & do it. Amazingly enough I don’t have any lime green batik scraps around the studio.
Maybe I’ll just buy some more pink as well as make it larger. That’s an idea……

Ravelympics 2010

I participated in this year’s Ravelympics! I missed the last summer Olympics & when it came down to it, I thought I wouldn’t be able to this time either. (I know, I know, me- not able to find time to knit??? Huh?)
But things are very busy over here & I’m focusing more on quilting so something has to give. And that would be knitting.
Towards the end of the Olympics however I felt really bad b/c I was on a team (Team Carry Around KAL) & we were even knitting a team project & I hadn’t done 1 purl stitch.
So I decided to put aside Feather Quilting Bootcamp (oh yes, I’m really doing that. Badly, but participating) & do some knitting.
Here’s the team project I made:
Robin’s Egg Blue Hat. Very cute. Very quick. Here’s my medal for competing in the Hat Half-Pipe:
Since I was on a roll knitting I decided to get out that cardigan I started in December that I stopped when I needed more yarn.
Here it is:
(Don’t judge a sweater by it’s pre-blocked pic please, I know it looks bad, trust me, it’s blocking now & I will take pics again & you will see how nice it is.)
Loosely based on Stefanie Japel’s Double-Breasted Cardigan Jacket. Very loosely based.
And here’s my medal for completing a WIP! (work in progress):

I have to say I’m pretty proud of myself. Now I must put knitting away & focus on other things.
Really, I need to put the knitting down.
Well, maybe just one more row on my socks…….

Where I’ve Been

Sorry for the silence lately- things have been pretty busy.

I started off the new year with a personal challenge- to get better at free motion long arm quilting. Now I do computerized work & while that looks great & is super easy, I’ve seen the work of professional LA’s (long armer’s) who do freehand exclusively & I’m awed. Since the only way I’m going to get better is by practicing, I signed up for a New Year’s day online class given by Longarm University. The adventure if nothing else taught me a lot about my machine. The freehand work isn’t very good, so I’m not going to post it here, but at least I did a whole quilt & even J will say I got better as I progressed.

I also started teaching at Create. This place is amazing! There’s tons of tables & workspace to do whatever craft you want to! I’m currently teaching a Hopscotch Quilt class there:

The first evening went well & the students learned about beginning quilting as well as some color theory. We finish up our quilts February 1st.

Feb 8th & 22nd I’m teaching another quilting class- Yellow Brick Road. It’s another fat quarter friendly quilt that can be made in a variety of sizes. I’ve made a couple of these- a baby quilt for one of J’s friends and a Queen/King quilt for us.

I’m also leading Sit & Knit on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30. There’s already an 11 year-old coming who’s doing a great job!

Also on the subject of knitting here’s a sweater I made back in December:

February Lady in a wool/silk blend. It’s wonderful to wear! Definately one of my new favorite sweaters.

I’ve also started branching out & trying new things. This is a facecloth made out of t-shirt yarn. There will also be a class for this at Create! Thurs, 2/4.

And I’m going to be leading an ongoing beginning sewing class. Here’s a pic of the reusable grocery bag (scroll all the way to the bottom.)

Amid all of that there’s been taxes, snow, more knitting & quilting, hosting dinner parties, planning retreats for the Spring, planning Spring Create classes, working out (I’m at 70 push ups!) oh & that other job of mine.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ll try to stay better about keeping everyone updated!

Happy Day After Christmas!

So I’m sure most of you have heard the news reports- there was a blizzard in the Midwest & we had A LOT of snow. This is me in our sidewalk yesterday after we shoveled & our neighbor went through with his snow blower. We actually got more snow after this so imagine the snow now up to my waist. The snow drifts are definitely the worst- I think an extra couple of inches of our neighbors’ snow was dumped in our driveway. In our backyard part of the fence is covered & it’s just one big snow drift from our yard to the neighbors. We keep asking the neighbors if this is normal- they keep saying no, but we’re starting to get suspicious. The upside to all of this is there’s so much wind we’re not worrying about snow accumulation on our roof!

On another note, thanks to all the traveling & snow days over the past 1 1/2 months, I’ve gotten tons of knitting done! 2 pairs of socks, a hat, the sweater below:

Really happy how this turned out! It was some stash yarn of my mom’s & it’s perfect. The pattern is by Meghan McFarlane, Shalom Cardigan. I think it took about 5 days to knit- I highly recommend this for anyone who wants a quick finished product!
I’m making really good progress on the February Lady Sweater- hope to finish the sleeves today & then block it tonight.
On a completely different note, I’ve been doing lots of cooking/baking. I made Chili 3000 on Christmas Eve- this has to be the best chili I’ve ever made! Thankfully Penzey’s Spices ships & you too can enjoy the great chili spices! I also made a Pumpkin cake from the Cake doctor. We had Sausage Strata for Christmas breakfast & homemade pizza for Christmas dinner. Luckily this all makes lots of leftovers so we’ll be eating well while snowed in!

How to Alter a Sweater Design

Disclaimer: Family & Non-Knitting friends, you will most likely find this post tedious & boring. I’m very sorry. I promise to have a ‘lighter’ post soon for you!

Sweater design amazes me. All the stitches & rows & increases & decreases & amazingly enough, you end up with a sweater. And truthfully, many times a BAD sweater. This causes great pain. Really, for all the time that is devoted to the sweater, you want it to come out perfect! The gap between knitting the pattern written & wearing something magnificant on me has always been a wide black hole. Until last fall that is.

Knit a Go Go sponsored a workshop given by Stefanie Japel. Stefanie taught us how to design a sweater for our bodies! It was great & I learned so much! (If you EVER have the opportunity to take a class from Stefanie- DO IT! You will NOT regret this! Your knitting career almost DEPENDS on this!)

Now fast forward almost 1 year & have I used any of the wonderful tips I learned in the workshop. Of course. I’ve spent the better part of the year only making 3 sweaters & a lotta socks & other non-gauge requiring items. So I decided to challenge myself & adapt a published pattern into something for me. I decided on Stefanie’s Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties. This however was only after seeing Percy’s adaptation. Here’s how I began the adaptation!

1. Swatch: And not the measly, tiny, I’m-tired-of-swatching-already-i-just-want-to-knit-the-sweater swatch either. This was a nice size, over 5″x5″. After washing & blocking, I measured my gauge to be: 5.75 stitches per inch! Now I look at the pattern & check to see what Stefanie says the gauge should be. Oh. 4.5 sts per inch. I check the needles- yup, size 7 needles like she recommended. I weighed my options. I could reswatch in size 8 needles. Don’t know about that as I do like the fabric that is created with the 7’s. I could change the yarn, but I don’t think the stash had anything appropriate & I didn’t want to buy more (only to still not make gauge.) But it’s all good. I’m going to use these create math skills I have & create a pattern for me! That’s what Stefanie taught after all!

2. Read the pattern & check for errata: Looked everywhere & saw no signs of errata. Read the pattern all the way through- fairly simple raglan design- set up row, increase for sleeves, separate for sleeves, shape the neckline, knit to length desired, do sleeves, then some icord. Oh, icord. Tried that once. Wasn’t good. Oh well, this is all a learning experience. I know there are videos of it online. I’ll just get help.

3. Find my size: This is always the fun part! Put on a cami & measured (since that’s what I will be wearing under the cardigan). Tape measure says my bust is 33″ around. Hmmm, now everything I’ve read in ravelry says people wished they’d made it smaller. I can see that. It’s a form fitting cardigan so too much ease makes you look dumpy. I decide on 2″ of negative ease. Pull back that gauge from step 1, multiply 31″ x 5.75= 178.25. This means that after all my increases, I’ll need 178 sts after all the increases.

4. Start Knitting- Oops, no- Analyze schematic: The knitty version of the pattern doesn’t include a schematic, but there’s one in Stefanie’s book: Fitted Knits. She starts with 7.5″ across the neck, but wait, I got extremely different gauge that her. I’d better figure how many stitches MY gauge needs to get 7.5″. Doing some cross multiplication (yes I know there’s an easier way, but my brain can’t wrap around that. I get cross multiplication) I see that I need about 43 sts for 7.5″.

5. Write down set-up row: With so much going through my head, I write down the set-up row. 1 (for the left front side), 14 (this is for the top of the arm. I figure out how many inches Stefanie means by this- 3″, ok, do the math to figure 3″ in my gauge & I get 17! whew!)

6. Rewrite set-up row: 1 (left front), 17 (arm), 43 (back), 17 (the other arm), 1 (right front)

Whew! Look’s like I’m going to start the actually knitting portion in the next entry! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial so far!

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday. Rather ordinary day, until J called me & said he didn’t have to work until 7pm! So we decided to go out to dinner & I decided to get my hair cut- it was getting a bit scraggly. Since we thought J was going to be working during my birthday, he actually gave me my present last week:
Soap from the Napa Soap Company. These smell fantastic! Nice & light & calming! & the names are great too: Cabernet Soapignon, Tea-no Grigio!

He also got me a wonderful bottle of wine, Rosenblum Vineyard Desiree Chocolate Wine. If you want a decadent dessert wine, try this out. It has a wonderful warm chocolate aroma that change your mind about ports.
Also, this weekend since J was working I spent 3 1/2 hours seaming my minimalist cardigan! You remember, the one I wanted to finished before coming to Omaha the FIRST time. Well it’s all done now & despite the 90 degree temps yesterday, I modeled the 100% pure alpaca sweater for photos:
Thing I learned in this project:
– wrapping stitches
– short row shaping
– 3 needle bind off
– when people told me alpaca grows, they weren’t kidding. I think I got an extra 2 inches in the initial blocking. (note that this did NOT happen when I swatched! The swatch LIED!)
So, overall a beautiful sweater in which I was able to learn & polish several techniques (first time I ever kitchenered a non sock!). This cardigan makes me smile.

Onerva Complete!

I finished the Onerva Shawl yesterday! What a relief to have that done. It’s a fun pattern, only it requires a bit of concentration that I don’t have much of at the moment. I ended up making small edits to my charts & then as the repeats increased, I simply “read” the lace & took the stitch patterns from other lines. So in the end I had about 3 magnets showing me where I was on my chart. At that point I just wanted to finish the darn thing b/c I knew that if I didn’t pick it up until after moved, I’d spend more time figuring out what the bijeebers I was doing. But it’s done. Only need to block it & that can wait until after the move.

I’m now back to the minimalist cardigan. It didn’t get done in time for the trip. I brought it along to work on in Omaha & finished one sleeve. I rummaged around in my suitcase for the last skein of yarn & low & behold I managed to bring 4 skeins of sock yarn & 1 skein baby yarn (all for about 4 projects) but somehow I missed the green alpaca needed for the last sleeve! But it’s all good now & the last sleeve is currently being knitted. I would like to say I could finish it today, but I’m knee deep in all sorts of things that need to be done for the move.