winter

Shawl

So. . . I started a new project. Before I finished the other projects. But I have a good reason!

Seaming sweaters needs to be done on a flat surface, sitting at a table. That means I no longer had a couch project! I can't just be expected to sit there and watch TV and talk to my husband and child without knitting something! That would be absurd!

So I started this shawl.



I have been borrowing The Girl's shawl constantly, and it will be nice to have one of my own. Just for around the house and maybe at work.

The yarns are two balls of worsted-weight gradient-dyed wool that I got at the Shepherd's Harvest festival a few years ago. I started with the more true blue ball; it ranges from light denim color to teal blue to light sky blue. The second ball is much more greeny, going from dark to light turquoise. I bought them with no specific plan and I am glad to be using them finally!

The pattern is written for fingering weight yarn, but in worsted weight I will just get a bigger, thicker version, which is what I want anyway. I love the way knitted lace looks in fingering weight, but worsted will be so squishy and warm! The pattern's relatively plain-knit main section is also nice for warmth. I may increase the number of lace repeats at the edge so I can use up all my yarn, but I will either need to do math to figure this out or just live dangerously and risk having to rip out an incomplete repeat if I run short.
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winter

My new winter hood

Today it is -5 F outside and tomorrow will only be colder. I have had plans to make a wooly winter hood for years, probably. We got some thick new wool doubleknits in at work and the time seemed right.

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Preface: I tend to hate hoods generally, for a couple reasons. One, they look derpy. And two, they NEVER go over my hair. (Attention clothing manufacturers: not everyone has a buzz cut.) Reason two is also why I can't wear most hats.

Derpy you can't always avoid. The hair thing, though, I could fix.

I based my pattern on the fitted coif in The Tudor Tailor. Part of the derpiness comes from that single seam over the top of the head you usually see on hoods. It almost always crinkles up in a weird shape. The center panel in the coif pattern avoids that, plus the seams make shaping easier.

I put my hair up in my usual 'do, took a bunch of measurements, and made the pattern. Here is the mockup I came up with.

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I haven't worn it outside yet, so we'll see how well it performs. I already want to make another one, with the scarf section attached next to the cheek for better face-covering. Kind of like a balaclava with a gate.
winter

Mittens done

Finished the second mitten yesterday.

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I have a new yarn stranding doohickey. It is this coiled wire one. It is more comfortable than the other one, but a little harder to get the yarns in. I've found it's easiest to first join the yarns to the project for a couple stitches, then put the guide on and slide the yarns in. But it really helps when doing those little every-other-stitch patterns.

There are 7 colors in these mittens and the sections are so far apart I really couldn't carry colors up. So I was left with tons of ends to weave in.

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I am pretty happy with my floats on the inside; they are loose enough that the mitten still stretches easily but not so loose they look sloppy. I was paying a lot of attention to keeping them loose as I went.

The Girl likes them!

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These were fun, and I am glad I made a plain pair before the colorful one, to get the sizing, etc. I think now I am done with mittens for a while.

My Ravelry project for both of the recent pairs of mittens is here.
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winter

One mitten done

Finished this mitten last night.



It is brighter in real life. My tablet takes pretty washed out pictures.

I was surprised at the amount of grey in it. I was making it up as I went along, no real plan except the 7 colors F picked out. I just decided as I went that the colors would pop nicely on that light grey.

Now to make it a friend!
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winter

mitties

So I finished a sweater today and couldn't bear going back to a ufo. I needed something instant. So, mittens for the kid.

Here is my crappy picture taken from the couch. Because sitting and not getting up.



I started these an hour ago and I am hoping to finish one before bed. I liked the plain brown for everyday plus Victorian. When this pair is done I might make a bright stripey one. Stash and leftover yarns only, of course.

Pattern is my usual favorite any-gauge mitten recipe. Ravelry project is here.
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winter

Cobblestone finished

I finished this yesterday!

cobblestone done

I used every last scrap of yarn, even undoing my gauge swatch for the last row and bind-off.

I haven't blocked it, not sure if I am going to bother.

The yoke portion was a little frustrating, only because it required constant measuring. Knit such-and-such an amount, then do short row shaping, then knit until it's such an amount of inches, then decrease, etc.

Measuring. Knitting. Sucks. It's stretchy; it moves all the time, and you never get the same measurement twice. My measuring kind of went like this:

Measure: 8"
Knit 4 rnds.
Measure: 7.75"
Knit 2 rnds.
Measure: 7.5"
Knit 6 rnds.
Measure: 8"

Not to mention it's in garter stitch so it's extra stretchy. I got very sick of seeing the tape measure go backwards.

For the neckline bind-off I used Jeny's surprisingly stretchy method, but omitting the directions to purl (and make it ribbed).

This took me about 6 months to knit, which seems to be typical for me for a sweater. Though I did take a break for over a month while I made The Girl's shawl.

My Ravelry page for this project is here. I might get pictures of my HB wearing it after christmas when I give it to him.
winter

Grafting

Working on my HB's christmas sweater today.

The pattern instructions have you graft the sleeve and body stitches at the underarm. I generally hate doing Kitchener stitch and this was no exception. First I tried Maggie Righetti's directions from Knitting in Plain English. I love most of that book but the grafting directions were pure gibberish.

So then I looked up Knitty's grafting directions. Much better. I still struggled a bit because my wool yarn is very sticky and grabby, so to snug up the grafting, I had to fiddle with each stitch individually.

I used those big safety pin type stitch holders but since I didn't have enough, one section was on waste yarn. I hate doing that because the stitches shrink. I need to remember to buy a couple more holders. They are not perfect but they work.

Finally, I was a little annoyed at the pattern for not mentioning the big gaping holes you get at each end of the graft row. I knew to anticipate them, but it would have been nice to see some clever method of closing them up, or even just "sew holes closed," instead of just pretending they didn't exist. I just sewed them up kind of randomly like I always do. If anyone knows a better way, please share!

Just about 5 more inches of the yoke to knit and it's done. And I have reached the decrease section so it should go a little faster. Still, it seems like it is taking forever. Is the final stage of a knitting project always the most tedious?
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Plum wool skirt

I finally started this dress. I might have done it sooner but I needed to make a new skirt pattern. It is based on the one from my green ruffle bustle dress, but altered to remove the demi-train and make it walking length.

Here I am wearing the skirt over my green lobster bustle and only one petticoat because I am lazy. When it is for reals I will be wearing more.

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Right now it is hanging up to let any extra length stretch out before hemming. I will definitely stiffen the hem with a deep facing. I may or may not add a self ruffle. Depends on how much fabric I have left.
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Knitting lately

Since I can't find my HB's good Halloween photos, here is a knitting post instead.

I don't post as much about knitting as sewing (because the updates can be really dull) but I knit every day. In the evenings after dinner plus any time during the day I need to sit down and veg out. I try not to be too much of a couch potato, but my rule is "If you're sitting, you're knitting," so at least if I am watching TV I am still getting something done.

I have joined the sleeves and body into the yoke on my HB's new sweater. This feels like a milestone!



In the photo it looks like it's just a really short wide sweater, but the top edge is actually armpit level, and now it will be knitted up the shoulders to the neck. The yoke is shaped with short rows, which are kinda fun and break the monotony a little. It does mean I have to check off every row as I go, which can get annoying. No spacing out!

This needs to be done by christmas, but hopefully I will finish it sooner because there are a few other things I want to knit after this. I have two sweaters for me that are 75% done, and I'd like to finish them by the end of the year. One is Morning Echo, which I started in Spring 2014, and the other is much older, a sweater I made in 2009 and ripped apart a few years ago to alter the neckline. Never finished it back up!

I also want to make some mittens for myself and for the fam. You can't have too many mittens!

Another warm scarf for me would be nice, too. I have lots of scarves but really only two get worn most of the time. I guess I tend to pick bright colors I love but that don't really go with the clothes I am wearing.

I was thinking about knitting a Victorian hood but I think I just want to sew a hood instead. Faster and more wind-proof.
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I finished some underwear

First I made another set of Truly Victorian combinations. I love my other set and it fits great. But when I made this one, it mysteriously ended up WAY too tight across the bust.

Later I told my HB about it, and he suggested adding a strip of fabric along the CF. Yeah, I guess I could have done that, but what actually happened is I grabbed the scissors for an immediate solution. I cut the neckline down so the bust would not longer be an issue, then threaded a drawstring to pull in the neckline as needed. Now I have a low-neck version for evening dresses.

I will not be modeling them at this time.

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I have no idea if this will actually work or if it will stick out or slip down. If it doesn't work I guess I can cut the top off and make it into drawers.

Okay, so then I used Liz Clark's drawers directions to make these.

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The directions were good but I don't know if I made my crotch length correctly. And my waistband ended up a little snug, I think. I guess the proof will be in the wearing.

I had intended to leave them totally plain but ended up doing a few tucks and a little lace.

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Wool dress ideas

You guys remember this at all?

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Right after I last posted I brought these to work and my coworkers unanimously liked the plummy purple wool/silk with the lighter brocade. I bought out the rest of the bolt: about 7.5 yds.

I have enough of the solid that I want to make it into a Nice Plain Wool Dress, bodice and skirt, maybe a few pleats but nothing fancy. With 7.5 yd of 60" fabric I can do that easily. I want a nice plain winter dress I can wear alone or add fichus and fun over-bodices to.

Then I will use my wool brocade to make an accent piece I can swap in to change things up as desired.

Here are the plates that are currently speaking to me for the brocade bodice.

Left one here with the solid vest detail.


Left one here.
La Mode Illustrée, 1870:

Before I dive in to this I am going to finish my new undies and possibly a new corset.
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Shawl

I got sick of knitting this. And I ran out of yarn. That means it's done.



I used 4 skeins of black and 1.5 of grey Knit Picks Wool of the Andes superwash. They are 50g, half the size of a skein of Cascade 220 (but basically the same yarn).

The Girl LOVES it, but can't sit still for a picture. Too busy adventuring. She wants to wear it all the time and can't stop talking about how she is going to greet everyone for the Little House Party wearing this and holding a lantern.

Details at my ravelry.
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Sew Anything: Day 2

Last night after I posted about my sewing mojo remedy, I decided one thing I wanted/needed was to de-stash.

A woman at Treadle last year shared her de-stash idea with us: she took all of her cuts of cotton prints under a yard and made bags. Tote bags, drawstring bags, knitting project bags, whatever. Mostly she gave them away.

This works for me because I need to get rid of stuff, but some things I can't bear just tossing.

So I went through my cottons last night, and anything big enough for a bag, I cut and folded ready to sew. Most things that were too small I just pitched, except a very few extra cute pieces I might use for quilting.

About cotton prints. I mulled over this a little when I was re-doing my sewing room, but here are some more realizations/reminders:

1.) I don't actually quilt that much.

2.) Lately I have preferred to pick special new fabrics for quilts, so having a "quilting stash" doesn't really help much anyway.

3.) Cotton prints become dated SO fast. There are pieces in my bin that I have never made anything out of, yet I am already sick of them just from all the times I have pulled them out during organizing and then put them back again.

Really, I am just not allowed to stash cotton prints any more. Cotton prints are going to fall under the "only buy it if you're gonna sew it NOW" rule.

So, bags! A few will probably become knitting bags, but mostly I am going to use them as reusable gift wrap. I am sure my sister and I will pass some of them back and forth for the next ten years, but hopefully I can send some away out into the world.
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Sunday baking

The weather the past week has been wonderfully cool. I put the fluffy goose-down comforters out and got the urge to turn on the oven and bake stuff. And since the historical food fortnightly has fizzled out, I have missed doing cooking posts! So here you are. These are three things I make all the time (though usually not all in one day!).

First I made cookies. I decided to be smart and mix up a double batch so I could freeze half my dough for later.

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These are my favorite cookies ever. They give me serious Frog and Toad moments.

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Then while those were in the oven I mixed up a batch of granola. This is a breakfast staple at my house, to eat either with milk or with plain yogurt and fruit. If you eat sweetened yogurt, this might be a little too sweet to go with.

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That was enough sweets so finally I made vegetable pasties.

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state fair

Last week we went to the MN State Fair. It is always fun and we had a pretty good time. I didn't take so many pictures as last year, but I got a few.

The creative activities just weren't as good this year as submissions seemed to be down in a lot of categories, especially garment sewing. But I did take photos of anything I recognized as being made of Treadle fabric!

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A shawl for The Girl

I washed my kirtle wool and while I wait for it to dry I will post about my latest knitting.

I cast this shawl on during our recent trip up North. It doesn't look like much yet (ooh, a black triangle!). The Girl specifically requested black with grey stripes. The pink bows are my RS markers.



The pattern is the Godey's shawl that mala_14 recently made.

The pattern is so super simple, but I have to admit the archaic language threw me at first. I don't like admitting that because I have knitted Many Complicated Things! But here is a row written out:

Slip the 1st stitch, that is, taking it off the pin without working it; then to increase a stitch, knit the next stitch plain, but before taking it off the left pin, insert the right pin in the back of the same loop on the left pin, and, bringing the wool between the pins, knit the stitch, taking it off the left pin; there will now be 3 loops on the right pin; knit the next 4 stitches quite plain.

Which, in modern knitting, would say: Slip 1, kfb, knit to end. Because these days all knitters know what "kfb" means, but in 1864 I guess they had to write it out.

Once you get started it is just a mindless two-row repeat. It feels like I got to this point in the project really fast, but of course since every row is longer than the last, the shawl seems to grow more slowly as you go. Since it is for The Girl I am not going to make it huge, but who knows how long it will take me. I am a slow knitter. Just as long as it is done in time for winter.

I am using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes superwash worsted and US 6 needles. My Ravelry project page is here.
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We Went Up North

If it's not obvious, "Up North" is the local catchall phrase for basically any rural place you go in MN for outdoor fun, usually north of The Cities, but not always. We went to the North Shore of Lake Superior, an always beautiful, always fun, always popular vacation spot. The whole area is just full of ridiculously beautiful scenery like this.

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mail

Yay! My Knit Picks box has arrived!

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Is there anything more thrilling than getting stuff in the mail?

There is yarn for a shawl for The Girl, deep turquoise roving for me for thrums, some needles, a few random notions (because free shipping), and a new "feeling superfine" bag to replace the one I lost (Lost! Me! A whole knitting bag! Project and all! What is wrong with me!?).