A Very Late Christmas Post

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By “very late christmas post” I mean very late.  I made these Christmas tree decorations LAST Christmas and never got around to posting them.  Then Christmas came and went, and I never took a photo for the blog, and then the decorations went in a box, and the box went in the storage unit.  I got the decorations out again this year, but the holidays are so crazy that I still didn’t get around to taking a photo of them until just now.

Better late than never, no?

The trees are pretty simple to make – I just followed the directions as written.  I didn’t add buttons, obviously, but I still like the way they look.  What was unexpected was how long the project took.  It’s kind of like socks – you finish one and you have to start all over again.  Only this time I had to start over three times.

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A Sorbetto Problem: Please Help!

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*Sigh*  I have a problem and need advice.  Presenting Sorbetto (free pattern!), approximately 75% complete. The fabric was on the discount table at the fabric store, so I don’t know much about it’s contents other than it’s a cotton blend of some sort.  It has a slight stretch on the bias.

But first a photo of my ever faithful sewing assistants…

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Clearly they are a big help…

Moving on.  I made my own 1/2″ bias tape using the tutorial by Coletterie.  I was really excited about making my own tape and ordered bias tape makers.  “It’s so easy” they said, “it’s fun” they said.

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I read and re-read the tutorial and thought I completely understood the process.  Turns out, I didn’t.  I was completely confused and even asked the scientist husband to help.  He was also confounded despite his superior spatial orientation skills.  Finally, we both stared at the fabric long enough (which I had cut into a parallelogram and marked lines at this point) and  figured out how to align everything into a spiral tube of sorts.

I then cut out the tape, but somehow my measured lines didn’t line up – some were wider than others.  Huh?  I seriously spent a long time measuring and I still had uneven widths?  I give up.

Then I ran the bias tape through the bias tape marker with my iron.  Not as easy as I was led to believe.  It took forever to press the bias tape, but I did end up with A LOT of bias tape.

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Alright, so now I was ready to attach the bias tape around the neck, which I did according to the directions in the pattern.  As here’s my problem: serious gaping.  It’s clear the neck got stretched out when I was attaching the bias tape.

But how can I fix it?

One step I skipped in the pattern directions was to stay stitch around the neck on both the front and back.  I know, this is obviously the issue.  BUT, because the bias tape is 1/4″ wide after folding, I would have had to stay stitch at 1/8″ in the seam allowance.  I did try doing this, but my machine kept “eating” the fabric with such a small allowance and almost destroying the fabric.  I finally had to give up and move on with the pattern.

But clearly this gapping is not acceptable.

My thought now is to re-make the bias tape (I’ll have to use the main fabric, of which I have plenty left over, because I don’t have any more contrast fabric).  This time, though, I’ll make  1″ tape so that I have a wider seam allowance to play with and would (hopefully) be able to successfully stay stitch the neck.

Any other suggestions?

Festive Baby Cardi

A co-worker “commissioned” a baby cardigan – but there was pressure!  The baby was already here – must…knit…quickly!

This cardigan is based off of this DROPS design (free pattern on Ravelry).  Clearly, I played a little more with color, but otherwise mostly followed the directions and gauge.  I followed measurements for the 1-3mo size.  I think there may be an error in the charts for the yoke – I followed the directions exactly, but the chart pattern didn’t fit correctly on the remaining stitches (yes, I re-did this like three times, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t user error).  I just kept on knitting through the frustration accepting the fact that the pattern would just be cut off on one side.  But then!  Suddenly!  The pattern lined up again on it’s own???  Crazy, but true.

In any case, I’m happy with the way it turned out, and I hope it keeps the new baby warm this winter!

Avonlea Shoulder Bag

A part of Operation: Use Up Stash
(except for the part where I had to go buy more yarn, but then I ended up not needing the new skein, but I still ended up adding to the stash)

Yes, it’s been a long time, and yes, I have things to share, starting with the Avonlea Shoulder Bag. I started working on this what seems like a very long time ago – March, I think. I actually finished the knitting very quickly, but then I got to the point where I needed a zipper, and well, it took me a long time to get a zipper.

This project is free on Ravelry from Melissa Walshe. And so begins the backstory…(a point of warning – pay no attention to the excessive amount of cat hair)

Original bag

In this first picture (right), you can see I finished the bag as per the directions. The skein of yarn I was working with was from some frogged project of yesteryear, and I wasn’t even sure the brand, let along the yardage. Needless to say, it was not enough, and I ran out of yarn after completing the body of the bag. So, I found another yarn at the store that I thought matched pretty well (as long as it’s not in direct, natural light), and finished the handles as shown.

This is where I started to doubt the bag. Up to this point I was really in love with the construction, texture, size, basically everything (really awesome pattern, Melissa). The handles are double-knit, which provides great support, but if I were to wear this purse in the summer, my shoulder would be sweating in minutes. Gross. Plus, I thought the proportion of the handles didn’t work with the proportion of the body (the body ended up being a little smaller as I was trying to conserve a my yarn with unknown yardage).

What to do, what to do? I had to go to the store to get a zipper anyway, and stumbled upon purse handles, and BINGO! My answer to avoiding sweaty shoulders!

Strap attachment detail

So I cut (eek!) the handles and knitted a thick cable strap at each corner for the handle loops (left). Sorry, the photo is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.

Overall, I’m really please with the way this turned out. I still need to sew a lining, but I’m taking baby steps with this whole sewing thing. Getting the zipper sewn in was traumatic enough.

And to finish this post…a slideshow!

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View this project on Ravelry.

Cable Check Bag…or a Pillow

A part of Operation: Use up Stash

 

My last (full) skein of Caron Simply Soft!  I’ve been trying to use up this Simply Soft for quite some time.  In fact, you can view three other projects with this same yarn: $5 in Paris, Seamless Raglan, Stripped Socks.

The Cable Check Bag is a free pattern, and is obviously suppose to be a bag.  I followed the pattern, which by the way makes more sense when you do it than it is written down.  Instead of folding and attaching bag handles, I decided to sew a backing and stuff with polyfill.  Easypeasy.

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View this project on Ravelry.

Buzios Mod

A part of Operation: Use up Stash

This is a mod of the Buzios pattern (free pattern).  My goal with this project was to use up the variegated yarn that I didn’t care for very much.  I don’t have the original skein information, but if I remember correctly the yarn is a Red Heart Super Saver.  It isn’t very soft, so I thought a loose fitting tunic of some sort would be the most comfortable to wear.

The Buzios pattern met my goal of a loose lace pattern, but I wasn’t crazy about the scoop neck and short sleeves.  Below are my mods:

Follow pattern for body to the bottom of the underarms, ending with second to last round of seed stitch pattern.
Next round, continuing in seed stitch pattern, bind off 8 stitches for underarm; continue across body, bind off 8 stitches for underarm.
Work the rest of the project flat, front and back separately.
Beginning with the front, continue in lace pattern, decrease one stitch at each arm (decrease total of 2 stitches) every other round.
When front reaches desired length, place on stitch holders.
Work back same as front, adding approximately 1.5″-2″ of seed stitch past front.
Join front and back in the round, working in seed stitch for approximately .5″-1″, or until desired length is reach.

Below are pictures showing the pattern detail, decreases, and neck shaping.  Sorry for the poor picture quality – my usual photographer was not available, so I had to take them myself!

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View this project on Ravelry.

$5 in Paris

A part of Operation: Use up Stash

(I’m beginning to feel like I’m NEVER going to get to the bottom of my stash basket.)

Does it seem like a lot of the things I’ve knitted lately have been gray.  Turns out, there’s a good reason.  I have/had a ridiculous amount of gray yarn in my stash.  You may remember the Stripped Socks and the Seamless Raglan, both of which were attempts at using up the gray yarn.  Well, the gray yarn remains…

$5 in Paris is a very popular sweater on Ravelry specifically for using up Caron Simply Soft yarn.  So, off I went.  I started on Monday and finished on Friday!  The pink stripes are from the left over yarn from the Stripped Socks, too, but I didn’t have a lot left so used only think stripes of pink.

The original pattern didn’t have any waist shaping, but I added some decreases after the bust and increases for the hips.  I was a little worried this would be a bit small but it turned out perfect.  I cast on with #7 needles for the ribbing and then was going to use #9 for the body.  Of course I stop paying attention to my knitting while watching tv, so never ended up switches for the #9’s.  I didn’t realize this until I was nearly to the under arm, so decided to roll the hard six.  My bet paid out.

Can you believe I still have a little more than one skein of the gray yarn left?!?!  It never ends.

This may actually be my favorite piece I’ve knit for myself yet.

View this project on Ravelry.