Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kathy's Cardi Conversions

Way back when, like last year, my sister gave me a bunch of sweaters to convert into cardigans.  She saw my post, Unbiased Cardi, and wanted some!  Well...let's just say I have been sitting on them...not making them into cardis.  Ugh, I know, I'm a procrastinator.

When my sister came down, one of the days we finally worked on those sweater conversions.  The first one was a polo-neck style:


We cut this one up the middle, sewed the front band towards the inside and sewed a hem up each side.  Here is Kathy modeling:


Next, we took a cabled crew neck:


We cut it up the front and cut the sleeves down a bit.  The sides were hemmed.  Here is her modeling that one too:

So, for the last one, we did something very different.  Well, not so different that we did not cut it up the front, but different enough.  Here is the before:


This one was a cashmere turtleneck.  We cut it up the front, but at a slight angle, cutting right through the turtleneck.

Angle Cutting - In Action

Then, we took some yarn that I used for the Fuzzy Wuzzy hat and scarf set last Christmas and crocheted it on the edge.  Huh?  Yes, we did a mixed media project!!

Just Poke It Through

We took a steel crochet hook and poked it through, grabbed the yarn and pulled it through.  This part Kathy did, I was working on the other cardi conversions.  She did a single crochet around the whole edge, then crocheted double crochets for two rows.  Wait until you see it...pretty neat...


We looked through my button jar and found a nice Celtic silver button to cinch it closed.  I'm proud of her!  Here are a few more pics of it:


Ever After

I can say we had a good 'ole crafting time with her sweaters.  They all got a new lease on life when Old Man Winter hits Mass again this year.  Kind of funny to see her wearing a sweater next to a cactus in the month of June.

Let me know if anyone else has done their own "cardi conversions"!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Indecision City

I bought this beautiful yarn for a project way back last summer, in July 2012.

It is Alpaca Silk (50% Alpaca / 50% Silk) from Blue Sky Alpacas.  It is sport weight and it is in a rich purple color.  I bought 3 hanks of it from a woman on Ravelry for $24, including shipping.  That is a fantastic deal, because online, one hank goes for about $14.  It's like getting one free!  Love it.

My original project idea was from a book called French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffin-Grimes:

Interweave Press

This book has beautiful French-inspired knitted garments, with seamless construction.  The project I was going to choose to do was called Delphine, a lacy tank top:

Delphine, Interweave Press

Once I copied the pattern and started to do my research on needles and gauge, I discovered that I needed 7 different sets of needles: 2, 3, 4 circs in two separate lengths and then another circ in yet another length.  Ahh, oh crap.  I don't want to be doing all of that!  Yes, gorgeous tank, not so fun knitting experience.  Ugh!

I was bummed when I came to terms with it in my head.  I then poured over my knitting pattern library (with the help of Ravelry: I have it all in their database, where I can search the patterns without actually thumbing through all of my magazines).  My next choice was another lacy top that will use about the same amount of yarn.

It is from Debbie Bliss's Magazine, Spring 2011.

Debbie Bliss, 2011

I chose Cropped Lace Top, pattern #13 (lucky 13, I hope).

Cropped Lace Top - On Right

The sweater is the one on the right.  The construction is knit in 2 pieces from bottom up.  Seam together. Uses one set and size of needle.  Sounds good to me.

I am using size 5 circular, knit flat, not in the round.  I actually started this one and when I got to about 2 inches knit, I was half through one ball...I only have 3.

I put waste yarn through the loops and took it off the needle.  I had 13 scallops (pattern repeats) which measured over 24 inches across.  I need it to be only 20 inches...Drat!  I did not do a meaningful gauge swatch.  I knitted one to make sure I got the pattern repeat down, then casted-on.  My bad.

I even went to the beach with it when my sister came to visit:

Siesta Key Beach, FL

So, I did what anyone would have: I ripped it all out.  Ugh.  Yup, back to the drawing board.  I continued my pattern search and came up with a cute shawl that can be draped into a wrap, shawl or scarf.  It is called Summer Flies shawl.

A fellow knitter on Ravelry, esqknits let me use her finished pic to show what it would look like when it's finished:

Summertime Blues by esqknits

How beautiful; I think that looks very stunning, especially in that aqua blue.  I'm still sticking with the purple, so I can only hope that it is as eye-catching as her Summertime Blues shawl.

Third times a charm??

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bata Blanket - Finish

Bata Blanket is done!!  I only used up about 1 skein of each color.  If I wanted to make it bigger, I could have bought another of each color, but when I measured it, it was already larger than the recommended size of 30" x 30".  

I started the project on May 19th and finished on June 1st.  I first posted it here:

The pic of the yarn above is all that was left.  Not too shabby.

The finished blanket was so cozy once it was done.  I had draped it over my legs while Vince I watched a movie.  Perfect-o!

I think the color combo is really nice together.  The light and dark makes it a girl blanket, but not strictly a baby blanket.  I will ship it off to baby Kaitlyn next week.  I hope she will enjoy it for years to come.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cabled Cardi - Part 2

No, I have not forgotten about my KAL with my sister.  The Knit-A-Long is just taking a long time.  It could be that the weather is getting nicer and I don't want to knit with wool anymore.  Actually, that is exactly it.

Kathy is pretty much done with her sweater, as I am the pokey one, am still knitting the body with all of those cables.  Just to refresh everyone on what the Cabled Cardi was, here is a link to Part 1:
Here is also a pic of what it is supposed to look like when we are done:


Since its cast-on, I have done most of the body.  The raglan sleeves have waste yarn keeping the live stitches for the sleeves holding-tight until I get there.

Top Portion - Front

Looking at these pics, I'm not really liking the color, or the absence of color, much.  Oh boy....

Top Portion - Back

At this point is where I will start the cabled-ribbed part.  It will have no bottom ribbing, that this cabled bottom portion will serve as it.

The cabled was going well, it just takes awhile.  There are a bunch of cables that using a cable hook might take too long.  The quick technique for doing the 4-stitch cable is:
  1. Insert right needle tip into the back loops of 2 stitches on the left needle.
  2. Pop all 4 stitches off the left needle.
  3. Place the loose two stitches back on the left needle and place the 2 stitches that are on the right needle back on the left needle.  They are now in a different order.
  4. Knit, like normal, with the new order of stitches on the needles.
That creates the cable without using a cable hook.  With there being only 4 stitches, it works well.

I have made decent headway on the cabling portion.  But.....there is a minor problem.  Not problem really, but a I just realized I did way more work than I needed too.  Crap!  You'll see:

Here is the cabling.....can you see from the first pic in this post, what is different about it???  Scroll back up and compare the pics.

I did too many cables!  You are supposed to have a ribbing between each cable and I just kept on cabling.  Ugh!  That is way more work than what I was supposed to do.  I do like it, but not what I had in mind.

I only just realized it today, when I looked at the pattern to see how long I am supposed to knit these darn cables to.  I saw the pics and was like, Ah, what is that pic?  Are there different ways you can knit the cables?  Did they give us choices on how we wanted it to look?  Well, the answer is No.  I just did my own thing and did not read the pattern repeat right.

Looks nice, but I'm concerned now that once I put it on, the cables with bunch to the back of me, rather than a nice fan around me.  The cables tend to bunch together, making a ribbing of their own.  The problem with that is that my gauge is now off, with the potential of being too small.  

Well, I'm now putting it back in the bag and will wait it out.  I don't really know what I am going to do with it.  I have a few options:

  1. Continue and hope for the best 
  2. Rip out the cables and start the cable part again
  3. Rip out the whole thing and reknit it in another yarn
  4. Rip out the whole thing and call it a day

Not sure.  Tough choices, since I have spent a ton of time on it already.  I'm having second thoughts of the yarn I chose because it's wool, itchy wool, and can't have it next to my skin.  I'm in Florida, when am I going to wear this?  Only when I'm in Mass, visiting?  I can just wear my sister's sweater that she already knitted.  Hehe.  

I may just rip it out and start it again with another yarn.  A softer yarn.  I'll see what my sister says about it.  I've already placed it back in the bag.  The only bummer is that the project is using my popular size 8 circs.  I like those and tend to use them a lot.  I could have used them on the Weekend Shrug, but used straights instead.

If this happened to you...what would you do?  Let me know!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sewing Room - Part 2

I wrote a tester at the end of the Bata Blanket post about the progress of the sewing room.  I am ready to reveal what we are doing:

Making shelves along the one wall that is indented and having a computer work station built-in

Whoo-hoo!  I know you guys are probably, like, Big deal, shelves?  Anyone can do shelves.

Although this may be true, these will be my shelves, made especially for me by Vince and myself, made for my sewing room.  I can really, seriously get organized and take my crafting serious.

This is how the sewing room has been.  An eyesore with junk everywhere, having one door closed so I don't have to look at it.  In the pic, it is not very inviting.  The cats hang out there and that is about it.  Sad.

That is a pic of the left side of the room when you walk in.

That is a pic of the right side of the room when you walk in.

This is the wall where the shelves will go and computer station.  It is like a nook.

Ok, you can say it: What a mess!  The bookcase is the only thing in this room that is organized and I did not even take a pic of it.  Later.

The Plan:  There will 4, 8 foot long shelves that are a depth of 15 inches each.  Then the computer station will be a 24 inch deep shelf, running in parellel to the other shelves that will be above it.  There will be a 4 foot  long shelf under the computer station that will hold the printer and paper shredder.

Everything will fill in around these shelves.  I will get rid of the current computer cabinet, that you see above.

To start, Vince bought wood and had it cut.  We got it home and he trimmed it so it would fit in the nook.

My job was to sand using the belt sander.  Cool!

Vince rounded the edges with a separate piece of sandpaper.

He used the compound miter saw to trim up and make the ledge where the planks will be sitting on.  He cut 2 x 2's at 45 degree angles so they will fit into each other.

Next was staining the wood.  I chose a Cherry color.  Very nice!!!

I did one coat on the bottom of the plank and 2 coats on the tops of the planks.  Man, that is manual labor!!

A finished plank.  What a handsome plank!  Ok, I am going to stretch this project out a bit more.  Next time you will see it actually in the room!!