Saturday, May 31, 2008

Eternal Struggle

As most of you know, or at least can glean by my lack of project monogamy, that I've got a problem with ADD. Hand in hand with ADD I have a tendency to get obsessed with things as well. So has been the state of affairs here at the Hermitage regarding fruit socks, those dang silly fruit socks. I have GOT to move on. I had gotten myself into a tizzy about the yardage of the dang things and I've just gotta let it go. It actually had me stymied clear through this morning as I sat down to write this post. Trying to explain the problem I found the solution. Believe me it's not a thrilling tale and there's no need to go into it here, suffice to say, after making enough fruit socks to clothe an entire bushel of naked apples my numbers were confirmed time and time again. Even sweet Monika made a few fruit socks and she too confirmed the numbers. I was just playing with the numbers wrong all along......sigh Oh well I have plenty of fruit socks to give away now! :o)

I assume the pix below will be the last of the fruit socks, but they are kinda fun to make. ;-)

The blue one is made with two strands of Regia Bamboo held together and the pink is the Tofutsies again with a k2p2 rib swirl. I'll add this variation to the pdf.

Now on to other things.

edit to add Ravelry download pdf

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Fruit Sock

Yep, a fruit sock. I know, I know, I thought the same thing. I even let out an audible guffaw when I saw the first of a few apple cozy patterns on Ravelry. Then the practicality of the thing sunk in. No, it's purpose is not to keep my fruit warm like a certain man in my life assumed, it has a far more useful, and palatable application.

I come from a family were it is common practice to grab a piece of fruit as one walks out the door. Said fruit is then stuffed into a pocket or bag or maybe just tossed on to the passenger seat of the car. One of two (or both) scenarios happens next.

1) It will sweat, creating a huge wet spot in the pocket, bag, or car seat. The fruit itself isn't really sweating ya know. Said fruit, having been in the refrigerator and/or air conditioned house, thusly possessing a much cooler surface temperature than the ambient air will cause the water vapor in the warmer air to condensate on it's surface. It's easier just to say it's sweating even though I actually got to use "thusly" in a sentence and that was kinda fun. :o)

2) Naked fruit attracts fuzz, lint, hair, gunk, and any manner of icky that might be hiding within pockets, bags, or on car seats...especially if it's sweating. Think about it, would you really toss a sandwich or a muffin in your pocket, bag, or car seat without a wrapping of some sort?? Would you eat a pbj that's been schelped around hither and yon without protection? I think not. I wouldn't.

So yeah, given these two reasons alone, I've have come full circle and now believe, with conviction, in the virtues of fruit socks. :o)

I made one of the patterns found on Ravelry and then of course came up with one of my own. I would need something that was a little bit more flexible when size is considered. Above is the same sock with a small orange, smaller than a tennis ball, and huge apple. I tend to think of apples of this size to be an apple-for-two, it weighs 14.75 oz, it has a 10.5 inch circumference and is 4.25 inches tall. It's a big apple. To accommodate this range I used ribbing.

The first two photos show the fruit sock with the predominately knit side facing and the last two show the fruit sock with the purl side facing. You can see more clearly how I graduated the ribbing and used it as a shaping tool. (it makes a nice design too)

I'm posting the pattern here for your personal enjoyment. I hope to have it up as a Ravelry download later but I want to make one more to double check my yardage. It doesn't seem right. I used two strands of Tofutsies to make the one above.
Tofutsies has 425m per 100 grams.
That's 4.25 m per gram.
The completed fruit sock weighs 17g.
4.25 x 17=72.25m
72.25 divided by 2 = 36.12m Really?!? a little over 36 m?!? 40ish yards!?! That doesn't seem right. I'm gonna make another tonight to double check it before I upload a pdf. Here's the plain text cut 'n paste pattern for you right now if you just can't wait to make a few fruit socks of your own! LOLOLOL

edit to add link to Ravelry download pdf

80 yards of sock wt yarn
# 2 needles
Darning needle

8 sts = inch

Any cast on can be used, but I found it to be easiest to use a long tail cast on and when the sock/cozy is complete run the starting tail through the edge and draw the stitches tight. Pattern is worked in the round.

In the pattern below I use “kfb” where the increases are needed, any increase can be substituted. The fruit socks in the pictures were made with 2 strands of Tofutsies by SWTC held together. (80 yards in total) I made the increases by working a stitch in each of the strands.

Cast on 18 stitches.

Rnd 1: knit

Rnd 2: knit

Rnd 3: *k2, kfb* [24 stitches]

Rnd 4: knit

Rnd5: *k1, kfb* [36 stitches]

Rnd 6: knit

Rnd 7: *k2, kfb* [48 stitches]

Rnd 8: knit

Rnd 9: *k3, kfb* [60 stitches]

Rnd 10: knit

Rnd 11: *k14, kfb* [64 stitches]

Rnd 12-18: *k15, p*

Rnd 19 – 25: *k7, p*

Rnd 26 - 32: *k3, p*

Rnd 33 - 41: *k, p*
Measure off approximately 45” (10 times the unstretched width) and use EZ’s sewn bind off.

edit to fix typo...thank you Monika!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Refashion of My Own

Before I get into the refashion I'd just like to give a big welcome to those of you who are here for the first time cuz the lovely Sherrill from Bell of the Ball Podcast pointed you guys in my direction. Thank you Sherrill. (If you're looking for the Obama pictures you can go here or follow the links on the side bar. I hope you can find something else that interests you as well.) Michelle from You Just Gotta Keep Knitting gave Sherrill the heads up about me so many thanx go to Michelle as well. Welcome one and all.

Now onward and upward to the subject matter of todays' post. A refashion of my own.....

Yep, I did it. Before I ever wore the second petal sweater I refashioned it. Remember this post in which I contemplated my sanity and the buttons for the second fitted petal sweater?
Insanity won. I banished the garter stitch button bands in favor of a stockinette edge with a zipper. It was not without great fear and trepidation, but my instability was obviously greater than the fear. Behold the beginnings of the stitch drops.

I began by ripping out the bind off and putting the stitches on a holding thread. Then I went a couple rows pass the first button hole and threaded in a life line. I might be crazy, but I'm not a fool and if this wasn't going to work I didn't want to ruin everything I wasn't exactly sure how dropping stitches through a button hole was going to work. I thought it would be easy enough but hey, I've been wrong before.....many times in fact. :o)

The button band consisted of 6 garter stitches. The button hole spanned the three stitches just inside the edge stitch so I freed the outer 4 stitches from the holding thread and then replaced the edge stitch on another holding thread. Next I dropped the three stitches. Dropping pass the button hole was not a problem so the drop continued the entire length of the button band stopping one row short of the cast on edge.

Here is the neck edge with the three stitches that were just dropped on a holding thread. Looks kinda scary doesn't it. At this point I started to work the stitch just inside of edge stitch back down in stockinette stitch. I didn't like it. It left the edge loose, loopy and inconsistent, not a good thing for an edge that will have a zipper on it in yarn that is made of 8 individual threads that are not plied, so I dropped it back to the neck line. I went back to the bottom edge and dropped the remaining two garter stitches of the button band up to the neck. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at things) the pix of all 5 stitches dropped didn't turn out it, it is just as well though it was a sight too ugly to witness anyway, believe me.

After working all 5 dropped stitches I had some space left over. I figured there would be some slack merely by changing the stitch from garter to stockinette but I didn't think there would this much!

Yes boys and girls there enough to slack left over between the newly reworked 5 stitches and the edge stitch for another entire stitch!! So up at the neck I kinda made a starting stitch with my crochet hook and made another column of stitches between the original 5 use-to-be-garter-stitches and the original edge stitch.

I'm very happy. Yes, the gauge is off a little, it's tighter, but I don't think I'd change anything. I think a tighter gauge where a zipper is going to be is a good thing. And I suppose it will be lots less noticeable after blocking and few wearings.

In other knitting news, I started a couple more things this week. Yet another cardi, more sweatershirt casual like. Drops #81-10. I'm using up multiple yarns and threads from stash to beef up some black cotton I had in stash as well. The body is done and sleeves are nearly done. I'll post about it soon.

I started a pair of socks as a last resort to squelch my insatiable need for bedtime knitting that has been the impetus for all the new starts of late. I really don't understand why it took so long to start a pair of socks. I use to make sock all the time. I use to have at least one pair if not two or three on the needles at all times. It's been eons since I made a pair of socks (although now that I think about it, it could have something to do with the fact that IdaMae loves hand knitted socks). If all of these new project starts are the Knitting Goddess's way of telling me to start knitting socks again she could have been a bit more clear in her intentions. I would have happily obliged, I'm enjoying these socks. The sock thing got off to a rocky start though. As a matter of practice I always begin knitting at least 1 if not 2 needle sizes smaller than recommended, that's just how it is for me, but after a few hours of knitting toe up with very little visible progress I pulled out the tape measure and figured my gauge. Um yeah, 16 stitches to the inch is a tad bit ridiculous. I dumped those needles and that yarn and am now knitting a respectable 7.5 stitch to inch sock.

Big Red and the Open Cables top are coming along nicely. Open Cables is done except ends need to be woven in and a slip stitch crochet edge I want to work around it. Big Red is just getting bigger and bigger, I'm still not exactly sure when I'll stop but I have been coming up with some nifty things to do with it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Open Cables Top

I know, the blog posting department here at the Hermitage has been working over time of late. 5 posts in 3 days...sheesh you'd think I'd have something important to say!

Big Red is getting to the point that it's only worthy of bedtime knitting if Joe isn't in bed, so I just had to start something else doncha know.

Yet another Drops pattern #82-15.

I have to admit, this has prob'ly been one of the more challenging translation decipherings I've had to do, but it really wasn't that bad. The pattern itself on the page looks kinda frightening in that 'oh dear god there's bound to be a million translation faux pas' but once the extraneous multiple size stuff is out of the way it's not too bad.

I rest my case.

There's a lot explanation in this pattern about putting stitches on holders and working only half of the front for a few rows than going back with a second ball and working the same rows on the other half with mirrored stitch manipulations. All in all, once I figured out just exactly what it was and how it was they wanted me to make this top I dismissed the notion of stitch holders and the 2 circs at a time, as well as making the top with a front and back. I've been working this in one piece in the round with some back and forth knitting breaking it in the center front instead. I'm very happy. I'm also splitting all the cables in the center instead of just the top one cuz Joe suggested I do it that way. btw the eagle eyes among you will notice that in the pic there are in fact 2 circs. I didn't lie, I am only using one circ to work it, right before the pic I put some of the stitches on another needle so I could try it on, rest assured I'll be dropping that second needle as soon as that round is complete.

I'm using Jaeger Trinity in a light celery green held together with 3 strands of a slubby silk thread in apple green. And when I say "thread" I mean thread.

It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful changes in both color and hand of the fabric that can be achieved when adding a few threads to the working yarn. I've had this Trinity yarn for a few years now, but I never ever liked the hand of the fabric no matter what gauge I worked it at. Honestly, this Jaeger Trinity has got to be the record hold for "Most Swatched" around here. I'm lovin it now.

Although I'm lovin this top, there are couple things I'm not thrilled with. After trying it on this morning I'm not sure I'm going to like how wide the hem is. Gee perhaps that's cuz I forgot to use smaller needles for the ribbing and didn't decrease the 5 stitches I was supposed to after the ribbing was done.....ya think? Duh. The second thing I'm not pleased with is the beginning of that first cable. The 12 cable stitches are beget of the center 6 stitches by knitting in the back of them. See how it makes a tightness at the base of that cable? I'm not lovin it, a nifty way to do it but, I'm hating the pucker.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Vintage Sloper 1303

I have begun working on this dress pattern.

Nothing to show you though. I've pulled 4 different fabrics from stash (yes my fabric stash nearly as large as my yarn stash) and have washed and ironed them, I just haven't decided which one yet. I've also already made the dress in some random broadcloth to make sure of fit. I LOVE vintage patterns they fit me sooooo well. No matter what size I get in new patterns I always have tons of adjustments to make, but not so with patterns from the 40's and 50's. I guess all woman back then were freakishly short waisted with tiny rib cages, it's nice to know I was "normal" once. :o)

The sloper was not made without troubles sorry to say. I was pushing it. I really wasn't fit to be up and around but couldn't look at the ceiling in my bedroom any longer. I also figured what the hell, it's only a sloper who cares if the seams are slightly wonky cuz I can't see straight and the zipper catches a bit. Besides, I had just gotten an invitation to a Garden Party for my Aunt's 90th B-day. Could there have been a greater incentive?!? I think not.

The first of trials and tribulations began with me not able to read my own tape measure, what I was thoroughly convinced was 4 yds of a random "throw-a-way broadcloth" was only slightly more than 3 yards. I realized this after I had already cut out 6 of the eight gores. Oops, had to find more fabric in same weight...I kinda sorta did. I won't go into details regarding how many times I burned myself with the iron and not just fingertips, and forearm mind you but my tummy as well...don't ask. And I'll skip the part where my foot was filleted by falling scissors and how I snipped 3 inches of length off my own hair or how I sliced and diced my ironing board cover. I also refuse to mention how many times I misplaced and then sewed the gores, all 8 of them, incorrectly. A seam ripper is truly a magnificent tool. Despite all these tribulations in a just a few hours I had one vintage sloper Simplicity pattern number 1303, including the bias trim around the neckline, and armholes (I going to make this sleeveless) nearly complete. I sat there admiring my handiwork, licking my wounds, and contemplating whether I should solider on and put in the zipper or save that for the morning. It didn't take me long to figure out what to do, especially after I notice 2 gores still sitting on the ironing board and NOT sewn into the skirt......sigh

The next morning I did rip and resew and put in the zipper without much trouble. It fits perfectly. YIPPEE! I plan on redrafting the bodice a tiny bit to shape the armholes to make it a proper sleeveless bodice and to lower the neckline a bit, but I'm not going any where near my sewing room until I've got my head on straight. Can you blame me? :o)

Other future plans:
Aside from redrafting the bodice for a lower neck and making it sleeveless there are few other things I have yet to consider. I haven't decided if I will incorporate piping in the skirt seams as the pattern calls for in view 2, (those aren't just seam lines, those black lines are a contrasting piping) Whether I do the piping or not will depend on what fabric I choose. I haven't decided on what length I'll make it either. Depends obviously on the fabric and the "look" I want, and perhaps whether or not I'll actually wear a petticoat or not. I also have to put pockets in the side seams. Last night I gathered fabric and notions for the first copy of this dress with it's new modifications. It won't be the dress but it will be an everyday dress in this style, just one more step to tweak anything that might need tweaking before I make the real thing.

Weaving Wednesday


What a silly notion. :o)

My weaving has been ignored even though I have had a warped loom sitting around just waiting for a row or two to be worked in stolen moments. In my last post about weaving you can see the loom warped and ready for stolen moments in the background of the pic. Only 8 rows more have been done....sigh.

On Wednesday this pass week I did have a few stolen moments from the dance with Mr. migraine but not the strength needed for rug square weaving, and I wanted something else to do other than Big Red. For a while now I've been trying to figure out what the colorplay would be in two color squares with the color changes at different intervals in the process. I used a 2 inch weave-it and floss for my experiment, after six two inch squares I had sufficiently used up the stolen moments and was back to Big Red and dancing, but I digress. Here are the six tiny squares.

To those of you who are real weavers please forgive my lame explanations and misuse of terms here, and bear in mind I'm only trying to describe the process I used on a tiny weave-it.

Lets boil down the weave-it how-to in it's simplest, when using a weave-it there are 3 warp threads and one weft. These are a few of the results when changing the color of the warps and weft:
Square 1: obviously all the warps and the weft were purple.
Square 2: all 3 warps were purple and the weft was yellow.
Square 3: warps 1 and 2 were purple, warp 3 was yellow and the weft was yellow
Square 4: warp 1 was purple, warps 2 and 3 were yellow and the weft was yellow
Square 5: all warps and the weft were yellow
Square 6: warps 1 and 3 were purple, warp 2 and the weft were yellow

Here's a closer shot for the 6th clue where it went...oops!
But it was, as you can see in the other pic, what you'd typically expect colorplay-wise from a simple tabby weave with the warp in one color and the weft in another.

Rug Square update:
If I ever get the square that has been sitting in the loom done I guesstimate I have enough fiber for two more green squares and then onward to the reds and pinks!

Bias Tank II

Right before this last dance marathon I began working on another Bias Tank. You can find the pattern here. Yes, it's another Drops pattern, (#81-27) what can I say. I LOVE this pattern. Easy. Quick. Great Fit. This is one of only a handful of patterns I've ever done more than once AND I didn't modify!!! Yep, you heard that right, this is straight from the pattern. Um, it is so far, I think the pattern actually calls for shaping on the back at the shoulders that I kinda skip and work the back just like the front.

I'm not sure if it was the Knitting Goddess or the Stash Genie who was messing with me on this one. I was dancing and then comatose before I could give the matter much thought, regardless of who the trickster is the outcome is the same...I'm screwed.

I'm making this top with three yarns. I've got plenty of two of them, the third (the bottom left in the pic below) is the problem child.

It's not a huge problem, I've had worse, but it is frustrating nonetheless. The two yarns I have plenty of really do carry the bulk of the look and the other is merely there for blending and beefing up the gauge. The fact that whatever I find to take it's place could be use entirely for the other front/back helps in that hopefully the difference between front and back wouldn't be that noticeable, but like I said it is still a PITA. The yarn in question is/was the last tiny bit from a cone of cobweb wt. 2 ply that is loosely plied, with a crinkled texture. It is a wool blend of some sort with a sheen to it. It is an estate sale find, and prob'ly older than me. Like I said, I'm little bit screwed. lol

Big Red

I've been dancing not a lot has been going on around the Hermitage of late. There have been several days lost. I grabbed moments here and there and did manage to get some fibery stuff done. I think I'm going to make several posts today instead of one huge catching up post.

When I wasn't comatose I've been knitting on Big Red.

Care to guess what Big Red might be?? It is 56 inches in diameter, (I didn't count the stitches) and so far 18 inches deep. Totally mindless knitting around and around and around, the ultimate dancin' knittin'. I haven't decided how deep I'll actually go but I've got enough red to go another 6 inches or so, I might change colors and go bigger, we'll see. I'm using #10.5 needles with 3 strands, 2 worsted wt. on dk wt. The fabric being created is very dense and heavy. The yarn can only be called yarn, IMHO, due to the fact that it is linear in nature and composed of fibers twisted together. "String-like sandpaper" would be a better name name for this material.

Nope, it's not a gaiter for the Jolly Green Giant, although the color would be lovely on him. Nope, it's not a sanding belt for an industrial sized belt sander, although it would work I'm sure of it.

Bennie has figured it out and has laid claim.

Big Red will eventually be a cat cave/tunnel/igloo(?). Ben has loooong out grown the cat bed I made but still tries to snuggle down in to it. He has loooong out grown laying in wait in empty soda cases to swipe at unsuspecting dogs that just might wander by. He needs a place to call his own that he can squeeze all 20+ pounds into, thus Big Red.

At this point it is just big tube, how it will progress from here is still up in the air, all I know right now is that it needs to be bigger, much bigger for my much bigger cat.

FYI it is official. Ben knows how to open the sliding screen door without fail. Is that normal?? Do you think I could teach him how to close it? :o)