Thursday, October 18, 2018

The button up blue vest, continued, possibly finished.

The vest finished, buttons made and attached, I tried it on and decided I didn't like it. Too boxy and floppy, even when I adjusted for buttoning.

So I felted it. Boiled it briefly in suds, plunged into cold water, then another cold water, then wrung it out and gave it half an hour in a hot dryer with a towel. I had prudently buttoned it up ahead of time.




And ended with a really nice felted material. Much better texture, subtle design.  color really blazing away  I clipped the buttonholes just a bit, easy now it's felted, won't fray, for easier buttoning now the original holes are smaller.

And still not happy with the fit. So I cut up the sides and stitched a slanted seam like a dart. And now it's really nice. It fits. Very cosy, too.

I'm thinking of making a purse with the leftover yarn and felting it, now that I know how well it felts. With any luck that will be a bit simpler.

So this simple (!) vest involved knitting, felting, stitching, cursing and Dorset button making. Knitting's not for the faint of heart. At least not the way I do it!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thing Three, the pashmina continued


 Found a piece of black fabric, maybe liner, and made a lined purse from another bit of the pashmina.




 Inserted a pocket for phone, and after this, the whole thing folds over side to side,
 and I'll make a bead and loop closing, about where you see the bead there, using the embroidery floss seen in the second pic up there.

 I was thinking as I went and ended up with a kind of pursigami. Right for dropping into my actual purse. More fun than plan and execute!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cutting with abandon

After seeing the one-yard kimono jacket idea on MA's blog, and reading Sonya on Mason Dixon, I was all for trying something new. Sonya is all about making what you want to wear, fearlessly and not worrying about it, and MA's links are full of great ideas for all kinds of things you might not have thought of.




And, not being a procrastinator, rather the opposite, a hasty jumper-in,  late last night I hauled out three big scarves I was given and rarely wear, because they're too square for me. They don't drape for me.

Two are fine wool, the one in the foreground a pashmina, remember them? So they're nice in that the fabric is good.

Soooooo I cut the pashmina into a kimono jackety thing. Pinned it before hand sewing, no machine around here. And found it would be much better on someone entirely taller and more substantial than my fairly small self. Oh. I looked as if it was trying to kidnap me.

Back to the cutting board, and I now have a scarf which is the Isadora Duncan type, which I will wear once the temps and humidity drop below 80f and 6,241.



And a joke cover, not meant to be serious,  in my small gallery





And enough leftover fabric to make something else when I get an idea of what. The other two scarves are uncut for now.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Dorset buttons moving right along

To date, the buttons for the cotton vest. Seeing them through a lens is helpful for doing subsequent ones. Also you can see tiny thread ends to snip. The idea is to vary the patterns, just to experiment with the idea. This won't be very evident once in use, but it's one of those hidden pleasures in making things.



This is really calming work, needed right now.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

New Dorset button in progress

Here's the first of the set for the cotton vest. Not finished, I just did it partially, so as to test whether it would go through the buttonholes. And as you see, it did. So I'm set to finish weaving it and its nine friends.






I'm using a size 70 thread for this, used for whitework, so it's both fine and tough enough to stand up to handling and being pushed through the buttonholes. And I had to change technique a bit.

The stitches are tight and you can't really push a needle through the knots around the inside of the ring, to establish the weaving, unlike the usual approach. Normally the knots anchor the weaving. But here I passed the thread over the ring, and held on to it until I got some weaving established. It didn't add size, because the threads slid between the stitched ones. So that seems to work.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Buttons on, me or them.

I decided it was time for the Sewing on of the Buttons on the Blue Vest. This was after I wondered if I should first check the smoke detectors, change the oil in the car, check the mailbox, vote..well my mail in vote came today so I did vote, wielding my tiny power.

But then I had stop procrastinating, and do the buttons. I found, once done and buttoned up that I could have made the small size. I had wondered if it would be skimpy so, using her measurements, went for the medium.

Anyway I have adjusted, very simply, by buttoning it further over, and that seems to work. The fabric is open enough that I could just push buttons in without creating new buttonholes if necessary.

We'll see how the cotton one works out. I used different needles, and it's firmer. Probably the issue there will be inserting the buttons through the little holes, but I'll figure that out when the time comes. One good thing was that the Dorset buttons worked nicely, stitched on without losing any shape. I attached them with the same thread I made them with.

Anyway here's the round neck side

 And the v neck side, the other side is sticking up behind it






And a gallant attempt at a selfie!  Poor lighting uncooperative model..but you can just about get the gist.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dorset buttons in production

This afternoon being one of torrential rain, it was a good day to make the Dorset buttons needed for the blue vest. So, before my hand started to cramp up, I got a few done. They're small, as you see, so I couldn't do any fancy footwork with the designs, just stuck to needleweaving wherever it fitted. I'd already tested that they would actually fit through the buttonholes.



When I do the other vest, I'll use a finer cotton thread and have a bit of a good time with more designs. The thread I've picked out is used for whitework embroidery, so it can stand some use, as buttons will need to.

Vest complete, Dorset buttons next

The cozy vest is now done, and my inner stitcher comes into play, because I now need ten Dorset buttons. Both front and back of the vest are buttoned. Shown here not yet blocked and pressed, but the iron is two floors up, and the makings of the buttons right to hand.



That's what all the little threads are about, marking both buttonholes and buttons. The holes vanish into the fabric as soon as you make them, so it seemed advisable to mark them. Keeps the volume of cursing down to a dull roar.

The ball of yarn is crochet cotton, which I dyed with blue, variegating as I went. It's proved useful, what with knitting budgies and tiny doll clothes, and now it will be good for the buttons, able to stand up to buttoning and unb. Without fraying. At least, usual disclaimer, that's the plan.

Photographer's note: the vest is a sapphire blue, not with the purply cast shown, and the crochet thread is sapphire to white mix. The rings for the buttons, since I don't have any sheep horn handy, are from a fellow stitcher's grandmother.


The pattern designer airily says hardly any finishing, just the shoulders. Which is true if you don't count stitching ten buttons, and in my case, making them first, as finishing. I did enjoy the design though, just a minor quibble. Pattern is from Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch.

I'm halfway through another, in cotton thread, for a different season. As you see, the stitch definition is pretty good in both the wool and the cotton.



Whether it gets Dorset buttons depends on how the current ones work. Oh, and credit where it's due, the idea of the buttons came from Mary Anne of Magpie's Mumblings. This is all your doing, MA!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Dyeing and felting made a dubious item into a lovely one

The dyeing ended yesterday morning after 12 hours cooling in the vat. Rinsed it thoroughly, dried and noted the improvement.



I used red onion dye I made last year and froze. A reddish color. The idea was to knock down the harsh green (opposite on the color wheel, color theory comes into play) and blunt the effect of the acid yellow and bitter mustard, both of which brought up a taste in my mouth. And they worked nicely. Partly it was the gentle dye change, partly the felting, just a bit, which created a nice fabric.


So we're set with this one. The second picture is a truer color.

 It's the same pattern as the one I knitted a few weeks ago.
A bit hot for modeling wool felt, but I expect days will come when I'll be glad to wrap up in it.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

New natural dyeing caper

Inherited a nicely knitted long tail shawly thing in colors I don't like at all, I'm trying a bit of dyeing.


Here's the dye bath with red onionskin dye, from the freezer, thawing gently, with mordant of alum and cream of tartar, and the shawl resting on it. I'd soaked it in water for a couple of hours, then moved to lukewarm water before squeezing it out and adding to the thawing dye. Gradual temperature change to avoid felting. It might be superwash, no way to know, but best to be cautious.

I'm baking bread in the oven, but all the dye ingredients and mordant are food safe, so no worries other than finding room for everything.

So I'm interested in seeing what shade I get from this experiment.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Socks done and ready for their new owner

Finished and pressed the socks today, very pleased they're done and the yarn juuust lasted long enough. I liked the idea of literally knitting them together alternately, so they matched, and both got finished. I'm going to do that again. I didn't Kitchener the toes, but sort of invented my own version which seems to work fine, looks neat enough. I really prefer toe up, but this was embarked on so I followed the pattern of top down.


Now I can return to my vests. They're much bigger yarn and needles, after the fineness of the sock yarn and size 2 needles. They'll feel Brobdingnagian by comparison.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Knitting group creative byways

Yesterday's meeting included the reveal of his first zine by Randy. He's a self taught crocheter,



gardener, working on cooking, going to college and doing delivery driving, creative guy. And here he us with his hilarious zine, and funny and sweet story of hat wars. We want him to write more exploits of his main characters, and maybe he will.

We passed it round the group



and gave it several stars.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Collaborative art! knitting style

This is how women's art works. We learn from women long gone, and once in a while we get to collaborate with a departed sister-in-knitting.




I've finished the first heel turn, and to say I'm pleased with it is putting it mildly. I think Jeanette's lending a hand. Now I'm on to the second, following her plan on doing both of them simultaneously. That way they match and get done together. See that cool seam effect up the back of the heel? And the lovely triangle as the shortrowing starts to work. Easy stitch pick up is guaranteed by the slipped stitches at row beginnings on the flap. Best work I've done to date, thanks to this design. It's worked on four needles,which I much prefer over five. I just like working around a triangle rather than a square.

Once finished they're promised to my friend, js sister.  And I've messaged the author via Ravelry to thank her, too. Wonderful instructions, clear and friendly. And another way women preserve their art, by retrieving and updating long ago patterns to share on. We have Nancy Bush to thank for reviving these nineteenth century treasures.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Knitting in three stages

I've been inundated with yarn, about ten bags, new, clean, cared for, as my friend empties her late sister's apartment, plus art supplies, books, a lot of very good items.

So I've started passing them along to various art and knitting friends, and seeing what I might use, since the sister had said firmly she wanted everything to be used, one way or another.

The latest batch came yesterday, and included a half made pair of socks, on size one dpns, probably knitted alternately to make sure the pair matched and got finished. In the trove was also this book, a collection of sock patterns from a nineteenth century magazine which went out of business in the late century.  So I'm thinking of doing some detective work since I think these socks are from the book. I may finish them and give them to my friend, to honor her sister.




Meanwhile I had knitted one half of a vest, seen here in blue wool, but there wasn't enough to complete it. Sent away for more yarn, meanwhile embarked on a cheerful cotton version seen here. The vest is fun to knit.

You see the piece in blue? That middle curve is the armhole. This bit goes from center front to center back. The second half does same for the other side. Then you button it up front and back. You only need join the shoulders. Then it's reversible, round or v neck at front.

Very inventive design. I will need ten buttons for each vest. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of making them myself, clay, or knitted, not sure. They need to be comfortable to lean back on, since there will be back buttons however you wear it.

It looks as if my fall and winter projects are upon me. Here was I thinking about trying my hand at spinning flax, but I think that's for later.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ankle socks done!

Random stripey socks, ready for their debut.

Very comfortable to wear. Fun, too, always a good thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Provisional cast on, aka story of our lives..

I like toe up socks because there's no pesky finishing to annoy your toes in use. But it does require that you use a provisional cast on. This is a fiendishly clever piece of engineering which enables you, once the toe cap is done, to pick up the half of the stitches which were waiting for the cap to meet them, with no evidence that they were ever apart.

It's brilliant. And seems simple. Like those squirrel proof feeders. I've made a few pairs of socks with varying success at the pco. One I invented which didn't work, ended up picking out the pco bit by bit. Then I tried the crocheted pco, following directions. When it came to the "just zip it out" bit, it didn't. Ended up picking out etc etc.

So here we are with another gallant try, following YouTube tutorial. She appears to be working nice and slowly until you try to work along. Several ditched attempts and now I think I have it. Not elegant, but the dark red yarn is supposed to slide out once I need those stitches again. We'll see if it results in another picking out bit by bit.. I am hopeful.


Aren't the stitch markers lovely? Gift from a Rav friend in an embroidered clamshell case.



So I learned this pco yesterday. It's a good day when you learn a new thing. And all the socks I've knitted look fine.

You'd never guess the ineptitude that went into the pcos.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why I like toe up socks

You can try as you go. Here I'm using knitpicks fingering in two different gradients, and I'm changing up the colors as I want, rather than following the gradient as it comes. On the toe I did wrap and turn for the shortrowing, but didn't like it so much, and for the heel I'm doing the plain shortrowing. I like it better without the fussy wraps.

Duncan is still with me, sinking, but he  keeps reviving and postponing his end, and here he is checking the fit. He revived to the point of chasing the working needle and getting involved in the yarn.




Really liking these to date.

Another large stash of yarn is coming my way soon, from a friend who died a couple of days ago. Her sister wants me to deal with it, which I will. A bit for me, a lot to share around.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Finished and already in action

This is actually a yarn I bought. Can't remember ever buying yarn before. Either it's a gift or a rescue or a harvest or I spun it. I loved this gradient from knitpicks. Even to the point of using hated circulars, because of the large number of stitches.

And I'm knitting socks from another gradient, blue to yellow to white. On favorite bamboo dpns.

Despite the heat advisory today I'm wearing the shawly scarfy thing because AC at the libe is turned up to eleven.



The second one is nearer to the rl colors, and shows the drape in action. Really liking this. It's a very elongated triangle which is knitted across the length, very interesting but simple pattern. I'm not where my files are, but if anyone wants to know more let me know and I'll check when I get home.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Summer concert, Indian music on the santoor and tabla

This was an afternoon of virtuoso playing by the only woman teacher and performer of the santoor in the tri state, NJ, NY Conn, area. The santoor, aka hundred stringed lute, is a kind of hammer dulcimer, played by striking the strings with sticks. It's an amazingly intricate and complex sound, wonderful to be up close to see and hear. Westerners as well as Indians filled the hall to capacity.



If you Google on santoor beautiful Indian music, you can find similar recitals.

Deepal is also an acclaimed singer, though today was all about the santoor. And it was like being carried away from all your cares.

This post had a long delay since storms knocked out WiFi in the region since early yesterday afternoon. Restored now so I'm seizing the day in case it happens again.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Small doll poses in her new duds

Hot off the needles, little doll, in her garden party hat and dress. The Queen's not the only lady whose hat and dress match. Fiona Goble's pattern, size two bamboo needles, crochet thread.



Here she's swinging in her hammock, a handwoven Asian piece




And here she resting against a crystal, on her handwoven blanket, a wall hanging by moi.

This was interesting since a storm came up, lights went out and I went on knitting undeterred.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday summer afternoon of music and friends

No pix permitted during the performance, so I did a couple of quick ones before. Duet from the NJ Symphony playing a wide range of music for dance from all over the world. They inserted a lot of educational info about the music, its history, the instruments they played -- double bass and violin. They invited questions from the audience too, and were on top of all of it. The hall was packed with a crowd of all sorts of ages, nationalities, typical of the town.  Very receptive to the program.



 The players tuning up ahead of time.

Just a great time with professional players who enjoyed the performance, too. Met a couple of old friends there, showed them around the art exhibit a few yards away, introduced a couple to each other, just a good time. One of those events I wondered if I could be bothered and ended up very glad I went.



The event was part of an arts grant from the State arts council, I'm guessing to keep up interest in classical music by making it accessible and friendly.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

More Adventures with Picture books

More exploration of picture books, this time Inga Moore's interpretation of part of Wind in the Willows.




She twines the fantasy of animals dressed as humans and operating in a human society with references to real products, familiar to Brit children,Hovis bread, Sharp's toffee, Typhoo tea, and scenes like this one of a narrow street in a cathedral town, while elsewhere there's a reference to the white horse on the chalk Downs. It just seems very likely, as you get into her world, that Toad's adventures are historical fact.

Definitely recommended for children of any age.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

New doll needs a name

New doll has a face and a test run of hair, which may change



And her dress is in progress.



Here she is in the fitting room.

One thing I really like about this design is the way the feet are shaped as you go.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A new character emerges

Not up to much at the moment, getting over a very unseasonal flu, but I've been able to complete the tiny doll. It's from Fiona Goble's Knit Your Own Royal wedding.




Clothes to follow.



Body parts layout showed me I'd forgotten the second side of the head, so I got that caught up.




Then stuffing, not my favorite, but done now. And even before she's assembled she's showing attitude.

I'm looking forward to knitting outfits.



And the drum cover designed by request of Handsome Son, shown here nearly complete, has gone to its destination. It fits fine, despite being done by guesswork, and the decreases I did to achieve a flat surface worked, too. I added handmade and semi precious beads to the drawstring and off it went