Thursday, April 26, 2012

Machine knitting a cape!

Many years ago, I machine knit myself a wonderfully comfy cape that I wore to death! It was chenille, soft, warm and I loved it!!! I got compliments (from the most unlikely people like bikers and punks...) every time I wore it! But, sadly, years of intensive wear left their toll... It started to look really tired, to droop and pill...

Since I never found enough chenille to make another identical cape, I had to use another pattern and another fiber.

I had already made a few of these capes for friends, but this one's for me!!!

It's made on the Passap using AX /AX   and pushers on both beds (pattern no 31 in one of the old blue pattern books), alternating purple and green every two rows, which makes it reversible with a different color on each side! You don't even need a Deco!

It's just a big rectangle that's split in the middle front. Since it's an extremely stretchy pattern, using the width of the Passap makes it wide enough for anyone, so there's no need for seaming! I made mine extra long because I'm tall and because it's warmer that way... It's all about comfort!!!

The only tricky part, is remembering exactly where your pushers are when you separate the knit in front. You need to write everything down, so that you will be able to continue the second front side with exactly the right pusher arrangement and the right color.

I chose to make a round neck opening but it really isn't necessary. The cape still fits perfectly on the shoulders without it.

A cape is so easy, it fits over anything, it's warm and it looks quite dashing! At least I like to believe it does...  ;-)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lost and found?

I might have already told you about a big missing box of knitting books and magazines... It was (I thought) misplaced during our huge renovation. Well, I have to admit defeat, the box has completely disappeared in some other dimension... Believe me, I've looked everywhere, even in the most unlikely places... The only explanation, is that somebody threw it away (gasp!) thinking it was (dare I say it) trash...

Well since it's not turning up anywhere, I've decided to replace the books that I really miss, that I really use and that are still available. I've found out that some of the older ones are available in digital form!!!

Here is my first find, one which I never thought I'd lay my eyes on again, the Passap Deco Patterns Book 101-330!!!! Yeah!!!

If you have a Passap knitting machine with a Deco, this is the most useful pattern repertoire you'll ever come across!

I also found that a lot of my missing books are available on Amazon, like "Knitting in the old way" .

I'm so happy to have this one back!!!

Although I'd love to buy them all at once, I'll have to watch my budget and my purchases... Some of them are a LOT more expensive now than when I bought them!

O.K. I've found most books, but that doesn't solve the entire problem. You see, in that missing box, I had a collection of old Rowan pattern books and magazines... I haven't found any of them on the web, yet! I loved them and used them very often for inspiration... sigh.... The patterns were timeless... All I can do at this point, is to keep on searching the world wide web... Do you have any suggestions as to where I could look?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy, happy, joy, joy, joy!!!

Yes, I'm dancing my little Ren & Stimpy happy dance!

You see, while I was rummaging through a local second hand store, looking for a vintage  garden bench (which I found!), I came across a hat form, an old wooden hat form! My grandmother used to have one when I was small. I don't know where it disappeared to, although I've searched far and wide... So, imagine my excitement at finding this little beauty and bringing it back home!!!

                           My hats are all a lot easier to show when they're on a form!

 Granted the form is a bit smaller than my enormous slightly large head, but I love it all the same!

I have another reason to be excited, I got something through the mail! It's something I ordered from Lacis , a Pjoning Hook to do Bosnian crochet!

I've been trying it out and I have to tell you, it's absolutely great!!! Doing Bosnian (slip stitch) crochet with a regular hook is hard on the hands, but this hook is so smooth and thin, that it's like working with butter!!! :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Decisions, finally!!!

Finally! I've decided what to knit next!!! I've started on the very popular Vitamin D in some Drops Baby Merino I bought over a year ago and never got around to using! It's a very soft, light yarn that I love for spring, especially in this blueish lavender color. After having read a lot about it on Ravelry, I'll be lengthening the sleeves and the body and doing either the German short rows or the shadow short rows, I'll swatch and see which I prefer with this yarn.

While I was rummaging through my stash, I couldn't help but notice how much I seem to love that color! I have four different yarns in different shades of the same lavender/blue, Baby Merino, Galway Worsted, machine knitting cotton and a cotton boucle that knits up looking like thin terry cloth! 

I also found a lovely green yarn, with a beautiful sheen, for a machine knit spring/summer cardigan. I've had it for quite a long time and I have no idea where I got it... It should knit up really smoothly and it has enough weight to give it a nice drape.

I have a lot of it, 12 skeins!!!  I don't know the brand as there are no labels, all I have is the bag in which it was stored, that states the composition. It's a 50% cotton/ 50% rayon mix. I already know the type of cardigan I'd like to make. Now, I have to put all of it through the ball winder and then, knit a few swatches to see which tension gives the best result. :-)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Knitting Fair Isle.

A few days ago, one of my friends, who is fairly new to continental knitting, asked me how I knit Fair Isle with both hands. How do I twist the yarns ?

The best way to explain this, is to share a video by Ann Bourgeois of Philosopher's Wool.

This is the single most useful knitting technique I have ever learned (after learning how to become adept at continental knitting) and Ann explains it very, very well!
If you don't know this method, I encourage you to try it!!!

On another front, while I'm still knitting and crocheting sweater swatches, I just had a couple of ideas for cute children's hats and I couldn't get them out of my head, I had to cast on... Why am I so obsessed with hats??? I need new cardigans, now!

Oh well, I guess I'll machine knit a few plain cardigans to tide me over for the time being. I'll jazz them up with some duplicate stitching or something and hand knit or crochet a couple of more complicated sweaters after I've gotten rid of my hat obsession...

Back to one of the little hats... :-)

Have a happy Easter Holiday!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Knitting swatches...

In april, the weather is fickle around here. When you go out in the morning it's below freezing, but in the afternoon it gets a lot warmer and as soon as the sun goes down it gets cold again.

So, a little problem presents itself, how to dress to go from morning till night?

The best solution is almost always layering and of course, cardigans are always popular, since they can be worn under coats and removed later, or worn without the coat! They give the most versatility!

I admit I have many cardigans,  but after wearing them for the past 7 months, I want and need something new!!!

A few weeks ago I knit 2 new ones:

Then, I got sidetracked by hats... :-)

Well, although I still have 2 or 3 more hats I want to make, I'm ready to attack a few spring and summer cardigans. So, I'm playing with different yarns, making swatches. I'm looking at knitting, crochet and machine knitting and maybe even a mixture of the three methods. I still haven't decided, but I sure am having fun trying to decide!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Green Dollheid!

The Dollheid is finished! The ends have been woven in, it's blocked and I wore it today!!! Yeah!!!

Like many knitters on Ravelry, I modified the paper dolls a tiny bit. Although I love Kate's dolls, I wanted mine to look more like little girls, so I gave them fatter legs, didn't give them a waist or a chest and I also omitted the eyes and mouth. They're more like the kind of paper dolls we made when I was a child. :-)