Wednesday, December 31, 2008

demi, from rowan vintage knits

The neckline was easy to fix. The abalone buttons weren't what I had in mind, but ended up being perfect.

The best part about knitting it circularly was seeing neat details like the side ribbing emerge right as I knitted them.
And yes, it is entirely possible to knit this circularly, even with its set-in sleeves. Simply consult Knitting Without Tears (Elizabeth Zimmermann)for instructions on how to knit up to the underams, follow the pattern's instructions for the initial decreasing of sleeves and body, and finish the decreasing and neck using Knitting Workshop (also EZ) as a guide.

This, along with four (or was it five?) skeins of Cascade 220 (I had to knit a different size to achieve a good fit since my gauge was different), should just about do it.
And while we're on the subject of finished projects, remember the bobbin lace tablecloth?

It had a makeover.Happy new year!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

let it snow!

I honestly haven't had any time for knitting lately, so it was a great surprise to wake up on Friday and realize that I was going to be snowed in for the whole day.
I had ripped out the appropriate parts of Demi a few days before, so I was able to jump right in and try to solve the problem I had made for myself.

The sleeve "seams" are great. I used Elizabeth Zimmermann's technique for set-in sleeves on a circular needle (found in Knitting Workshop) and it all went smoothly. I had the presence of mind to even try it on at that point, and it fit just as I had imagined it should. But then I tried to tackle that neckline, and found myself hopelessly lost and confused. I think I might have solved it now, but I need to do a little more work on it before I can post pictures. The pattern has a little separate shoulder piece that has to be sewn onto that left shoulder, in addition to the separate button band, and then picking up stitches around somehow incorporating them all together. I misunderstood the directions, and I think I picked up too many stitches around the neckline, too. I'm in the process of fixing that now.

The other project I've been working on involves the antique lace I mentioned before. Here's one of the tatted doilies. There are five altogether, all matching.

They're beautiful, but have some nasty looking stains in the centers of them that won't come out.

I think my solution wakes them up a little bit. I've still got one more to go, but I'm getting there.
I also have this small circular tablecloth of Cluny lace that needs some help.

The stains on this one are horrendous, although of course they stubbornly refuse to show up in photographs. I've made a whole lot of progress on this one, but you'll have to wait until I've finished it to see. This is going to be a Christmas present, so let's see if I can get it together.

I've been handsewing all of these items, and I'm really starting to get the hang of it. True, I still have to use a ruler to make sure that I'm placing my hemming stitches exactly half an inch apart, but I'm enjoying myself. As a guide, I'm using Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaefer. Couture sewing refers to garments that are entirely made by hand, and there is wonderful information in this book on different hand sewing stitches, and what they are best used for. For the complete novice like me, there's even diagrams of the knots you need to use to begin and end your sewing. I actually bought this book with the intention of trying out some of the techniques on clothes, and now that I know how easy the actual sewing can be, I'm newly enthusiastic over persuing that. If you want a quick, free guide on a few sewing stitches, I was also shown this site. It's nowhere as good as Couture Sewing Techniques, but it's a place to start.

If you can stand anymore sewing, I've got a whole pile of it that's (almost) done and ready to go out for Christmas.

For now, though, I'm once again snowbound for the day, so I'm going to get to work on Demi, wash the pair of socks I finished, and then pick out something new to cast on. This will take my mind off the fact that I still don't have any milk in the house, and probably won't until tomorrow afternoon. Enjoy your Sunday, I know I will!

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

the good, the bad and the ugly

I'm really nearing the finish line on Demi. I have the body, arms, and a good deal of the shoulders done. I knew that I had made a mistake somewhere along the shoulders, but since I was having a hard time grasping how the construction of this sweater worked, I figured I'd finish off the shoulders, graft one, and then try it on.

The good news is that most of it fits great, and it is so comfortable to wear. The lace blouse I had on today even mimicked the outfit on the model in the book. I was right, though, I had made a mistake on the shoulders.

Yikes. I just decreased incorrectly on the last few inches - namely, I forgot to keep the sweater in one piece, which would be the total goal of circular knitting. It shouldn't take more than one really good knitting session to fix the shoulders, re-knit, and finish up little things like weaving in ends and grafting the underarms. I'm going to use Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop as a guide. So maybe you will see the end of this sweater next week!

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