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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / cloth diaper questions on: January 06, 2010 05:29:40 PM
Hi! Just wondering where people buy their fabrics for making cloth diapers? I will likely at some point wind up making my own, so I'm hoping to find out what sites people are using to buy their diaper cloth.

Many thanks to cooleyswife. I'll check out that site, cooleyswife.

2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / ok to sub cotton for "silky types" in Simpl. 2955 ?? on: March 20, 2009 09:59:07 AM
Hi! Newbie question: When a pattern calls for fabrics like "silk/silky types, double georgette, lightweight linen types," will I have difficulties with the pattern if I use an inexpensive cotton print instead?

I'm aware that we should "use the best materials we can afford", but cotton print is the best I can afford right now, and I do want to try this pattern (Simplicity 2955).  Undecided

Thanks for any responses!  Smiley

3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / A knitting sampler for beginners on: December 20, 2008 07:52:45 PM
My SIL, Rene, has learned to knit but not to purl, and I'll be teaching her purl over Christmas break. This afternoon I created a little sampler for her of beginning stitches, or at least what I learned as a beginner. Here is a blurry picture:

Sorry -- I tried to get a better picture but my camera doesn't handle close-ups well.

At any rate, I thought I would teach my SIL in the following order, building on what she already knows: garter stitch, stockinette, basketweave, moss/seed stitch (are they two names for the same stitch? that's what I've assumed), 2x2 rib, and basic cable. Below is my "pattern", the first one I've ever written, and I hope I did it correctly. If you see problems with it, experienced knitters, would you kindly let me know before I lead my SIL astray? Thanks!  Smiley                         --Sleepy

***EDIT: 1/9/09 -- my SIL likes the pattern.  Smiley I think it helps that this is a "do-nothing" sampler that doesn't turn into some useful object -- no pressure to make it "turn out right" the first time, so when she's done she can unravel it and do it again if she wants (she is a fearless unravel-er!). At any rate, in the process of showing her the pattern, I discovered I'd written the basketweave and ribbing sections incorrectly, so I've corrected that issue now. Sorry for any confusion, new knitters!***

Renes Sampler for Flat Knitting
Cast On Cast on stitches (CO = cast on, when CO appears at the beginning of a pattern)
Garter Stitch knit every row (K = knit); (K even = knit every stitch all the way across)
Stockinette Stitch knit every other row, and purl every other row (P = purl); stockinette tends to curl, so we usually knit a couple stitches at the beginning and end of each row;
Basketweave Stitch knit five stitches, then purl five; on the second row, purl five, then knit five; follow that pattern for five rows; on the sixth row, reverse the pattern: start with purl five, then knit five, then purl five, et cetera; on the 11th row, go back to starting with knitting five stitches; the point is that youre making a little square block of garter stitch and then a block of stockinette, in a checker pattern.
Moss or Seed Stitch knit one stitch, then purl one stitch, and continue going back and forth between the two all the way across; on the second row, start with the purl, then knit, and switch back and forth all the way across; on the third row, start with the knit, and et cetera. Youre making a checkerboard with single stitches. A * on either side of a set of instructions (as in *K1, P1*) means to repeat that set of steps in that order.
2x2 Rib knit two stitches, purl two stitches; note that the fabric begins to pull in, or becomes narrow.
Left and Right Cables When you get to CL3 in the pattern below (row 27), slip three stitches onto the cable needle and let the cable needle hang down in front of your knitting fabric; knit the next three stitches, then return the three stitches from the cable needle to the original needle and knit them; do the same process when you get to CR3, but let the cable needle hand down the back of your knitting fabric; knit loosely until you feel confident! And note that the fabric pulls in overall as you knit cables.
Cast Off Cast off stitches (CO = cast off, when CO appears at the end of a pattern) (also referred to as Bind Off)

Rene's Sampler Pattern
CO 20
Garter Stitch
Rows 1-5: K even
Stockinette Stitch
Rows 6: K2, P16, K2
Row 7: K even
Row 8: K2, P16, K2
Row 9: K even
Row 10: K2, P16, K2
Basketweave Stitch
Row 11-15: K5, P5, K5, P5
Row 16-20: P5, K5, P5, K5
2x2 Rib
Row 21: *K2, P2* to the end
Row 22: *P2, K2* to the end
Row 23: *K2, P2* to the end
Row 24: *P2, K2* to the end
Row 25: *K2, P2* to the end
Row 26: *P2, K2* to the end
Row 27: *K2, P2* to the end
Row 28: *P2, K2* to the end
Row 29: *K2, P2* to the end
Row 30: *P2, K2* to the end
Moss/Seed Stitch
Row 31: *K1, P1* to the end
Row 32: *P1, K1* to the end
Row 33: *K1, P1* to the end
Row 34: *P1, K1* to the end
Left and Right Cables
Row 35: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 36: K even
Row 37: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 38: K even
Row 39: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 40: K3, CL3, K3, pick up the CL3; K2; CR3, K3, pick up the CR3; K3
Row 41: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 42: K even
Row 43: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 44: K even
Row 45: K3, P6, K2, P6, K3
Row 46: K3, CL3, K3, pick up the CL3; K2; CR3, K3 pick up the CR3; K3
Rows 47 and ff: repeat rows 35-47

Remember: If you knit with the yarn in front (purling), the purl bump will appear on the front of your current row, and if you knit with the yarn in back (knitting), the purl bump will appear on the back of your current row.

When you want to see a technique in action, go to www.knittinghelp.com and watch the videos with pink icons for left-handed knitters or blue icons are for right-handed knitters.

By the way, on the sampler I gave you, the moss/seed stitch comes before the ribbing stitch, but in the pattern I switched it so that you would be moving from a greater number of changes (K2, P2 in the ribbing) to a smaller number of changes (K1, P1 in the moss). I think that makes more sense. Hope it doesn't confuse you!

4  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Design and knit your own sweater - 4 pictures on: December 17, 2008 07:32:53 PM
About a month ago I picked up a library book, Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, 2nd ed (2002, Down East Books), and started her "Sweater Sampler" project, which took me until this evening to complete. I think an intermediate knitter could finish it in a week or less, but I'm a self-taught beginner with limited time, low energy, and very little brain. The Sampler is a long tube that looks like a cross between a fish and a windsock and that teaches more than 30 constructive and/or decorative skills that can be used in designing and knitting your own seamless sweater.

Above (I hope!!!) (never done this before) are photos of the front, the front with shadows to show a little more of the stitching, and the back with the afterthought pocket in the middle and with my initials in the hem at the top. I've also pictured the tools I used: six-inch ruler, DPNs (four, size-8 double-pointed needles), circular needles (size 8, 16"), tapestry needle, and scissors. I used scrap yarn for markers (against the author's recommendation; I don't like the plastic ones). I used cheap craft yarn, Red Heart, and yes, I had to use a lot of lotion on my hands, but under our circumstances, cheap yarn is what I can afford right now. It's not so bad, though I'm looking forward to someday using wool.  Smiley

Here is a list of the skills taught and/or used in this project: circular, flat, and DPN knitting; both right-handed and left-handed knitting (in the two-color work); and the rest in pretty much this order: cable cast-on; garter stitch and stockinette; K1-P1 ribbing, twisted ribbing, K2-P2 ribbing (with an inserted color stripe); short rows; cardigan border placket and buttonhole; sweatshirt pocket; four approaches to increases; four types of stripes; four approaches to decreases; two-color knitting stripe; Swiss darning; two-color knitting in a Scandinavian design; lacing holes for a cord; the cord; a belt with a button hole; cable cast-off (with a cable loop for hanging the Sampler when finished); lace cast-off; ribbing cast-off; hem with the knitter's initials; and an afterthought pocket. Whew!     

What I love about this book is that it's packed with advice and wisdom not only for the Sampler techniques but also for a variety of seamless sweater types, sleeve types, neck types, and design features, and although I'm not crazy about the particular designs shown in the book, the skills will transfer well to the styles of sweaters I do like, plus the folks I most want to knit for do like the sweater designs demonstrated in the book. I love the book so much I splurged and bought it, which I seldom do -- why purchase what you can check out from a library? But this book offers advice I'll continue to use for years, and I don't want to run to the library each time I need to look up a bit of information.

What I don't love about this book is the illustrations. If you're an intermediate or advanced knitter, you probably won't have any troubles with the book. If you're a beginner who likes the challenge of figuring out instructions, you'll probably like the book. But if you're a beginner who tends to move on to another project when directions aren't clear, you'll probably be very frustrated with this book. It wasn't written for beginners, the instructions make some assumptions about the reader's skill level and knowledge, and the illustrations are not the book's best features. The drawings are either too vague or there aren't enough of them, or I'm not sure quite what, but they didn't help me figure out the minor gaps in the written instructions, particularly with the cardigan border placket and the afterthought pocket, but elsewhere as well. I think a clear, up-close photograph of each completed, individual technique would overcome the illustration issue, or a companion website or DVD with videos teaching each technique would be wonderful. 

To give you an idea of my skill level before I started this project, I've been knitting for about two years and could do ribs and tri-cables on flats, DPNs, and circs, and knew one increase and one decrease. I've done a couple baby socks, some chemo caps, and the typical newbie scarves. Everything else in the Sampler project was new to me. I feel as though I've jumped ahead five or ten years in my skills as a result of doing this project, and I feel pretty confident now about designing and knitting my own sweater -- the author walks the reader through a typical sweater after the Sampler is completed, and from that point, readers are on their own for designing their own sweaters. I'm not saying my first sweater will turn out brilliantly!  Smiley But I do feel confident and comfortable (as opposed to my old terrified!) about trying it.

This is my first posted, completed project. My Sampler is full of errors and not of much use now that it's completed, but I'm pretty happy with it anyway because of everything I learned from it.  Smiley I might turn it into a throw pillow for my "someday" craft room.  Smiley

Thanks for reading my lengthy post. The Sampler is sheer genius and worth your time, if you're interested.

Thanks for looking!

5  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / cardigan question -- answered on: December 02, 2008 08:24:26 PM
I posted a cardigan placket question last night, but figured out the answer almost immediately - definitely a "user error" on my part. There is no way to delete our own post, so instead I'll just edit by giving a free advertisement for the book I'm using, Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, 2nd ed. This book teaches you to knit a small "sampler" of a sweater that takes you through somewhere around 30 different skills that can be used in designing and knitting your own seamless sweater. It's step-by-step and starts with the easiest skills. A little over half the skills are techniques I haven't tried before, and I'm only about half way through the sampler, so I don't know at this point if my sample is going to turn out or not, but if it does, or if I at least make a second attempt on the sampler to work through my mistakes in the first, I should be well on my way to designing my own sweaters. Personally, I wish the book had better visual aids for the individual techniques (I'm a visual learner), and once in a while the writing seems more intent on "sounding good" than on being clear (and maybe my newness as a knitter has something to do with that perception), but overall, I think this is the coolest and most formative knitting book I've come across in the last three years. I highly recommend it, especially if you see yourself as a self-starter.
6  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Buttonhole sorrows -- advice? Singer Simple on: November 17, 2008 06:21:42 PM
Hi! Teaching myself to make buttonholes tonight. The first two went well, but the second two have big problems, and I'm hoping you can help me figure out what I'm doing.

I've got a Singer Simple with a "one-step buttonhole" (which actually requires eight steps, according to the manual). On step seven, the "one-step buttonhole" stitches the buttonhole, starting at the bottom with bartack (I hope I'm using that term correctly!), going up the left side, across the top with more bartack, and down the right side to finish. The instructions don't say whether I am supposed to stop in between each segment of the buttonhole to get the machine to start the next segment, or whether the machine automatically will start the next segment at the right time.

As I said, the first two buttonholes went just fine in spite of my lack of knowledge, but they created one-inch long buttonholes. I decided to experiment to see if the 1/4-inch button I'd placed in the "one-step buttonhole" foot was determining the length. When I removed the 1/4-inch button for my third buttonhole attempt, the machine gave me a 1/4-inch button hole, but stopped short on that third segment of the button hole, and did the fourth segment, the bartack, too early, giving me a one-sided buttonhole with a weird little leg coming down from the top of what would have been the second side. I put the 1/4-inch button back in the foot and tried a fourth buttonhole, and received a one-inch but one-sided button hole again (meaning the bartack segment started too early again).

The manual really is not helpful on this issue! :-)

Can anyone offer advice, please? Thank you in advance! 
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Sew a liner for a baby's car seat? on: October 07, 2008 01:17:48 PM
Help! :-) My princess gets car sick. I've been reading on Craftster the great threads about making cloth pads ("mama pads"?) for periods, and have wondered if anyone has made a similar kind of liner to be used in a baby's car seat, something thin and comfortable to go over the regular lining and that can be pulled out easily and thrown in the washer or at least in a bag in the trunk until we locate a washer. I'd like to make four or five liners to take on a long, cross-country trip at Christmas time, but before I, as a newbie seamstress, jump in and make my own pattern, I wondered if anyone else has a pattern or at least advice on how I can create one. Thanks in advance for any help you might have to offer!
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