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41  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Blue cotton cardigan - knitted from the top down on: August 14, 2012 11:50:42 AM

This cardigan was knitted in a thick cotton yarn.  I bought it as a pack of five skeins  from a lady who spins it herself.  (It is the same cotton yarn I used for this lace openwork cardigan ) I used 10mm needles and knitted it from the neck down, making up the pattern as I went along.  I used my previous pattern as a guide but reduced the number of stitches and increased the number of rows  before I split off the sleeves.

On the button band I got rather carried away and made 12 button holes.  This was far too many.  The weight of the buttons on the left front was so great I had to hand sew a tape backing  to stop it from stretching right out of shape and to keep it the same length as the right front.

I worked each colour in stripes of four rows each.  In order to get  the streaking effect of the colours I slipped stitches as follows :

First Row:  Knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, slip 1, knit 3, slip 1, knit 1, slip 1, knit 1, slip 1, knit 3; repeat across the row ending with slip1 knit 1 slip1 knit 1 over last four stitches.
Second Row:  Purl 1, slip 1, purl 7, slip 1, purl 7 repeat across row ending with purl 7, slip 1, purl 1.  Third Row:  Knit
Fourth Row: Purl.
In order to get the effect of all the slipped stitches being in line I had to work  around the increases so skipped some slip stitches if the increases upset the numbers.  It got  rather out of order once the sleeves were done and I was  knitting down the body. Of course it is not necessary to keep the slipped stitches in line across the rows. My mum made a similar cardigan and also slipped the stitches but let them run randomly down through the colours  and it also looked good.

I more or less wrote down what I did as I went along so here is the pattern if anyone wants to do the same. 

Cotton knit cardi - plain
Bust size 108 cm/42.5 inches.  10 mm needles. Tension  approx. 11 stitches and 12 rows  to 10 cm
Cast on   47 stitches
1   K1 P1 to end
2   P1 K1 to end
3   K1 P1 to end
4   P1 K1 to end
Continue in stocking stitch and increase for the raglan sleeves as follows:
Knit rows
   K9 (pick up and knit thread between stitches = M1), K1, M1, K 4, M1, K1, M1, K17, M1, K1, M1, K4, M1, K1, M1, K9.         (55 stitches)
   K10, (M1,K1,M1= +2), K6, (+2), K19, (+2), K6, (+2) K10   (63 stitches)
   K11, (+2), K8, (+2), K21, (+2), K8, (+2), K11   (71 stitches)
   12 (+2) 10 (+2) 23 (+2) 10 (+2) 12      (79)
   13 (+2) 12 (+2) 25 (+2) 12 (+2) 13      (87)
   14 (+2) 14 (+2) 27 (+2) 14 (+2) 14      (95)
   15 (+2) 16 (+2) 29 (+2) 16 (+2) 15      (103)
   16 (+2) 18 (+2) 31 (+2) 18 (+2) 16      (111)
   17 (+2) 20 (+2) 33 (+2) 20 (+2) 17      (119)
   18 (+2) 22 (+2) 35 (+2) 22 (+2) 18       (127)
   19 (+2) 24 (+2) 37 (+2) 24 (+2) 19       (135)
   20 (+2) 26 (+2) 39 (+2) 26 (+2) 20       (143)
   21 (+2) 28 (+2) 41 (+2) 28 (+2) 21       (151)
   22 (+2) 30 (+2) 43 (+2) 30 (+2) 22      (159)
   23 (+2) 32 (+2) 45 (+2) 32 (+2) 23      (167)
   24 (+2) 34 (+2) 47 (+2) 34 (+2) 24      (175)

Slip   26 stitches onto spare needle, work across  36 stitches for  8 rows. Rib 6 rows, cast off.
Slip  51 stitches onto spare needle, work  8 rows on next 36 stitches. Rib 6 rows, cast off.
Work in stocking stitch across all remaining  103 stitches  until long enough. Finish with 5 or 6 rows of rib.
Button bands
Pick up stitches down left side of the front.  I picked up 4 for every 5 rows and it worked fairly well. Work 5 rows rib making button holes (wool round needle knit 2 together) in the second row. Cast off.  Repeat for right side of front but without the button holes.
42  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Sleeveless recycled cotton top on: August 03, 2012 09:59:19 AM

This is a top I made using Argyll pattern No. 336. 

I knitted it in Sirdar recycled cotton which is a blend of 51% recycled cotton / 49% acrylic and knits as double knitting.  The original pattern is in pure cotton and uses 6 x 100 gm balls for the largest size which is for bust 97 cm (38 inches). 

I am actually a 107 cm ( 42 inch ) bust but since my tension was very slightly larger than the given, I figured I could just knit the largest size and it would fit me - which is pretty well what happened.  I also worked out and it took me ages that since pure cotton is heavier than a blend of cotton and acrylic, I would only need about  7 x 50 gm balls and in fact it only used 6 and I could have made it shorter as it has stretched a bit with wearing.

It is a good practical top and gives a bit of extra warmth on cooler days. I think it would have been a lot heavier in pure cotton. Its only disadvantage is that it has stretched a bit with wearing.  When I washed it I tried reshaping it but it hasn't shrunk any.  I guess neither cotton nor acrylic are as springy as wool which would have kept its shape better.


 This is the original pattern. I do like the style and may make it again in another double knitting yarn.
43  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / My first amigurumi - A Lion - and how I tried to articulate him on: July 23, 2012 01:54:05 PM

I wanted to make a lion and I found an excellent  pattern by Andrea   
 She used worsted weight yarn but I wanted a small lion so I used DMC  Coton Perle size 5
The crochet hook is an old one of my mum's. It calls itself a 4 but I have no idea what system it is except that it isn't metric.

I followed the pattern almost exactly except that I didn't have fun fur for the mane so I cut threads and hooked them into the stitches of the head as I went along.  I hooked the mane  threads into the outer loop of each stitch and continued with the single crochet in the inner loop of each stitch. I have tried to show this in the picture.

Also I wanted to insert joints at the neck and limbs. The neck joint was made of 2 buttons sewn back to back and with a slight neck between them.  After finishing the head I stuffed it and inserted one button  into the neck opening before sewing it up. I then looped the magic loop for the body around the outer button and pulled it tight after the first round of sc.  Andrea's  pattern for the body is worked from the base up to the neck so I did it in reverse order - from the neck down.

For the limb joints I didn't have any buttons small enough so I used a file paper hole punch to punch out discs from a plastic ice-cream tub lid and made 2 holes in each with a needle so they were like buttons.

I hope the pictures show how the limb joints were inserted into the limbs after stuffing and before sewing up and then into the body before it was finished off.

Having said all that, the limb joints make him an extremely floppy lion.  I still think he is cute but I shall have to think of something better if I make another one as he really cannot stand up at all!  Embarrassed
44  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Work bag with vintage handles on: July 16, 2012 12:22:33 PM

The story of this bag is that I was helping Mum clear out stuff and found two cane rings with some shreds of patchwork attached.  I asked her what they were and she said "Those are the handles of a work bag that belonged to your great great grandmother" 
Well, I needed a knitting bag and I couldn't bear to throw out something my great great grandmother had used.  So I went shopping with my sister to look for ideas. 

While we were browsing I noticed some DMC glow-in-the-dark embroidery floss.  My sister said "Does it really?" and took a skein and put it down inside her sweater to see.  "Oh look" she said "It does glow".  So I had a look down her front too and sure enough it was glowing nicely.  At which point we noticed two shop assistants looking at us with big eyes. Shocked
"It's okay" said my sister "We are sisters".   As if that explained it - and maybe it does. Tongue

Anyway I bought 2 skeins of the glow-in-the-dark floss and some black Aida.  The skull cross-stitch pattern came from a picture by notanartist .  I added  crossed knitting needles and used a font from Handmade-Adelaide for the lettering.  The bag is lined with a polyester fabric printed with pirate skull and crossbones pattern.  The inspiration was Craftster of course.

It didn't take me long to make. Mum thought it was lovely and really liked the idea of the work bag handles carrying on to another generation.

And here it is glowing in the dark. 
45  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / doll from airline sock on: November 30, 2011 01:22:17 PM

This doll was made from an airline sock and scraps of calico and lace that I had lying around.  The stuffing is polyester batting,  torn up and wadded into a ball for the head or rolled up for the limbs and body.
The technique I used came from a crafting course in the December 1984 Anna Burda magazine for Knitting and Needlecraft.  In this technique the batting is made into a firm ball and then covered with a circle of knit fabric drawn up tight to form the head  (I used a bit of mutton cloth for this). Then  threads are tied around the head from side to side and across where the eyes will go in order to provide some shaping. The whole is then covered with the actual stockinette fabric used and the eyes and mouth indicated with simple embroidery thread stitches.  There is an on-line tutorial for a similar doll at The Silver Penny.

In this doll about one  third of the sock the toe end was used for the head and torso, with strong thread tied around for the neck. The rest of the sock made up into two simple arms and legs which were attached using buttons and strong thread so they could move.

I used strong white Chinese fishing twine for all the shaping, joints and tying off of hands and feet. Also for the hair.  I hadn't intended her to look like a ghost but since the sock was such a dead white I couldn't think of any hair colour that would look right with it except perhaps black and I happened to have a 100g reel of the fishing twine size or gauge was 210D/4 in snow white so I used that.

The dress and pantaloons were done without a pattern and it shows, as the dress is way too big and I had to add a waistband to the pantaloons because I'd made them too short in the waist.  I'll know better next time.  The dress is a simple oblong of fabric with 2 curves cut for armholes and edged with lace. The neck gathered and fastened with a small button and loop at the back. I covered the gathers with some lace too.

Here she is with the other sock. I guess I need to make her brother.

(I did not make the little metal heron.  I do not have weld art skills. I bought it from a street vendor.)
46  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Advent Wreath on: November 27, 2011 03:42:56 AM
I made my Advent wreath yesterday. 

I used branches cut from cypress trees in our garden and twisted them together until they made a firm ring.

I added in  a few sprigs from our one blue cypress because it gave a nice bit of colour and it also had little green flowers/seed heads.

Then I bound it all with a "ribbon" that I cross stitched years and years ago for exactly this purpose.

All the decorations have memories attached.

1) and 2)  These are miniature Christmas books given to me long ago by a good friend.
3) This is a miniature nativity from Guatemala. My mother brought it back for me from a year's volunteering she did there after she finished her chemotherapy.
4)  The straw stars from Germany were given me by my late grandmother and the sisal angels from another dear friend.

Although I will be using candles with this I also twisted  a set of battery operated miniature L.E.D. lights among the branches and these were given to me as a parting gift by a friend who always used to spend Christmas with us but has now emigrated.

The little hessian boys and girl I made a long time ago following the instructions in the book Modelling in Hessian by Margaret Hutchings and the lovely leather camels were brought back from Dubai by my husband several years ago.  The little wire scooter the girl is riding on was made locally by a street vendor.  (With her skirt she can't really sit on a camel. Tongue)

Looking forward to seeing everyone else's Advent Wreaths.
47  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Asymmetric knitted cardigan on: November 25, 2011 09:57:33 AM
I bought this cotton yarn as a pack of five skeins  from a lady who spins it herself.  I loved the colours.  The pack came with a pattern for a scarf or hat but I decided I wanted to try and make a cardigan/jacket. 

I hate sewing up seams in knitting so I started from the neck with about 51 stitches.  I used 10 mm circular needles and, apart from the 4 stitches on each front edge, it was all just  "Wool Round Needle Knit Two Together"  on the odd rows and Purl on the even ones.  On the Purl rows I also increased by two stitches on each side of where I wanted  each armhole to be so each purl row increased the total number of stitches by 8.

When I thought the yoke was long enough and the armholes wide enough I switched to just knitting the armhole stitches - until the sleeves were as long as I wanted them to be.  After the sleeves were done I went back to the body and continued with the stitches  for the fronts  and back until the body was as long as I wanted that to be.  I actually only used four of the skeins. 

The interesting thing for me is that the stitch I used   Wool Round Needle Knit Two Together  resulted in this asymmetric effect.   I was quite surprised when I saw what was happening but decided I quite like it. 

I crocheted ties with some left over yarn and when they are fastened you can see the front opening spirals round to my right.

So the asymmetric effect is entirely a function of the stitch I used.  We learn something new every day. Although I guess the experienced knitters probably knew this already .
48  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / shisha embroidered tissue holders on: November 19, 2011 02:29:13 AM
I wasn't sure whether these should go in the needlework category - but they are bags after all.  I made them as presents. 

  This is the first one I made.  It is for a Christmas party gift exchange at the Needlecraft guild I go to.  The back on this one is left plain.

This is the second one for a lady who is having her 80th birthday next week.  I got quite carried away and embroidered the back as well as the front.

I used a cut up CD for the shisha mirrors and two strands of DMC 125 (green), 90 (yellow), 51 (orange), 48 (pink) and 52(purple) variegated floss for the embroidery. The fabric is just some plain calico (left over from lining curtains )
A lot of the stitches were inspired by a recent class in Dorset Featherstitch at our last Needlecraft guild meeting.

I found these  fun and relaxing  as I didn't use a pattern and just embroidered where I thought it looked nice.  I could carry the entire project in a small airline toiletry bag so could take my work with me for sitting around in waiting rooms etc.
This picture also shows the needle book I made in our Dorset Featherstitch class.
49  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / Faux spiral skirt (and how I did it) on: September 27, 2011 01:37:23 PM

I had some black print knit fabric and used it to make a simple top  with short dolman sleeves. There was enough left over to make a very  simple straight skirt but I felt it would be too much on its own and needed a plain fabric to complement it.  Also I have always wanted a spiral skirt but
a) they use such a lot of material  and
b) I hate trying to sew inside curves to outside ones to get a flat curve.

(I have been on Craftster long enough to know that I must always take pictures as I go along - partly so I can do it again and also so if it works out I can explain how it was done. So here goes  Tongue)

I have a pattern for an 8 panel skirt and I used it to  create two types of panel. 
I folded each pattern piece in quarters from hem to the edge of the elastic casing of the waistband.  Then on one piece I drew a diagonal line from the halfway mark on one edge to the bottom quarter mark on the other edge.  The other pattern piece I drew diagonal lines from the top quarter to the halfway line and from the bottom quarter line to the hem.  All the lines slope the same way.

This gave me one two-patch panel and one three-patch panel. I added seam allowances and labelled the paper pieces before cutting them out so  I would know which panel they belonged to and where they went on each panel and which way up.
Then I cut out each piece twice from both fabrics so I had two in the plain and two in the patterned of each piece.  It is important that all the pieces face the same way in order to make the spiral, so you can't fold the fabric in half to do it -  as that would give a mirror image which you don't want.
I also labelled each piece of fabric before I took off the paper pattern so as not to get them muddled up.
Then I assembled the pieces alternating the two fabrics so I ended up with four types of panel.  The picture explains it better than I can.
       Joined the panels together in pairs and then joined the pairs together until I had my skirt. 

The waist is just elasticated and I folded under a narrow allowance and did a lettuce edge for the hem.

The obligatory twirly photos.
Now that I have seen how it works out I will probably try it again with more contrasting colours.  I might also try reducing the panel size and making it a 12 or 16 panel skirt.
50  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / My Butter Yellow Crochet Dress on: September 20, 2011 12:07:49 PM

I love yellow and when I found some bright yellow crochet cotton I bought two 200 gram balls even though I had no idea what I would use it for. A couple of months ago I saw a nice pattern for a crochet tunic on Ravelry

I liked the stitch - but not the design for the  top of the tunic, so I used a doily pattern from an old Anna Burda as a yoke. 

I first made a chain that would go over my head and joined it into a circle.  Then I did  a row of trebles (UK)  and started the doily pattern at the row which had the same number of stitches - if you see what I mean.  This was made easier by the fact that I was following a chart.  I continued the doily until it was large enough that I could close it under the arms and formed a nice yoke.   It actually ended up almost at my waist.

The next row I did part way round and skipped the bit I wanted to be the armhole and continued on around the back until I came to the next armhole which I skipped again.  I then started the crochet motif for the Ravelry tunic and just carried it on down until I ran out of thread.

I am afraid I didn't think to take any pictures of this process while I was doing it.

I crocheted a chain to be a tie belt and threaded it through around where I want the waist to be. I crocheted circles on the ends to stop them slipping back.

The crochet cotton  is called 3 ply and using a 3.5mm crochet hook the individual motifs for the main body of the dress ended up about 4cm by 4 cm

I see from my pictures that the sleeves/armholes  gape a little  Embarrassed  so I must sew them up a bit. Also I need to make a yellow slip to go underneath.  Otherwise I am really happy with how it turned out.  Being made of crochet it hangs very nicely and is a very flexible garment so I didn't need to have an exact size when I was making it. Tongue
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