top down e-book!

I purchased the top down – reimagining set-in sleeve design ebook by Elizabeth Doherty, published by Quince and Co. The book teaches how to knit handsome set-in sleeves by picking up stitches at the armhole and knitting the sleeve top-down (armhole to hem). It also teaches how to knit the bodice top-down, and explains that this way you’ll be able to try the sweater on as you progress and know early on whether the fit is right – where the shoulders lay, shoulder width, bust width, armhole depth, neckline depth, etc. After the armhole, you work the rest of the bodice downward in the round.

I liked the smart set in sleeve idea, and I liked that the technique helps detect fit errors as early on as possible, because as you know I’ve failed with fit several times already. I like that I get to stop knitting the bodice or the sleeve when I decide it’s long enough, rather than planning the length in advance.

I plan to make Sans Serif, which is the recommended pattern for learning the technique:

For Sans Serif, I ordered the recommended lark and finch Quince and Co yarns, in the Iceland colorway, which is slightly heathered. I chose to get the Quince and Co yarn although shipping was expensive for me, rather than get yarn elsewhere, because I wanted it to be as easy as possible to get the right gauge.

I also purchased some Chickadee yarn in winesap colorway (sport weight) in order to (maybe) make the Copperplate cardigan from the book. I usually prefer not to purchase yarn for too many projects in advance, but the shipping was expensive so it made more sense to buy two projects’ worth of yarn rather than one, for the same price of shipping.

Knitting top-down might be trickier than knitting bottom up – you shape the shoulders using short rows, and you have to cast on stitches as you progress. Maybe it’s not trickier, only different – I’ll know after I try.

Until the Quince and Co yarn arrives, I’m making a third attempt to knit according to my own pattern. Not that it’s a fancy pattern, but it’s according to my measurements and calculations – this has failed twice before. Wish me luck!

It’s a sport weight, cotton yarn, at 25 stitches and 33 rows in 10×10 cm.

I want to make a summer everyday top with short sleeves. I’m knitting the bodice bottom up (front flat and back flat, separately). I started with a seed stitch hem, and the rest will be mostly stockinette.

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crafting status

If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed the doodling trend is pretty hot in my life right now. I’ve really been enjoying it, doodling for hours after work and before work, so much that I’ve exhausted the ink in one of my markers :-)

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I’d like to get a few Sakura Micron pens like Lisa Congdon recommends in the course, but I’ve had no luck in shops I went to this week. The best course of action is probably to order online. It usually takes me a while to find a shop that stocks several items I’d like to order and which offers reasonable international shipping rates.

My boyfriend is in California for the week for work, and when he returns he’ll bring me the Hansen miniSpinner I ordered – with a lace flyer and also the Woolie Winder. So expect a spinning spree very soon.

Today I ordered a niddy noddy from Fiber Artist Supply Co. It comes with several interchangeable lengths, to make different sized skeins (2 yards, 1.5 yards, 1 yard). It also comes with a drop spindle. And it was only 16 USD, plus 16 USD for international shipping. Compare that with a one-size-only Ashford niddy noddy, which costs around 30 USD, and because of its weight, shipping would have been 36 USD. So I’m happy with my choice.

I also ordered some inkodye ink, which is an ink that you put on fabric which is initially clear, and when exposed to sunlight, changes to a color (black, red, pink, blue – whichever one you got). The color is permanent. So basically you need to cast shadows onto the fabric by placing items of different shapes on it while it develops, in order to get a design to print onto the fabric. Wherever there are shadows, the ink will not develop (the fabric will remain its original color). I thought that was really awesome. Now that I’m doodling, I might try inkodyeing my doodles onto fabric using sunlight. Cool!

Here, for example, the safety pins cast a shadow so they left a white imprint, and the orange dye around the safety pins developed in the sun.

I also got some of the transparent sheets you can print on, and wherever there’s printer ink will cast a shadow to create an image. Like this.

As for knitting – I haven’t abandoned my Little Wave cardigan, it’s just that I still haven’t gotten to the armhole yet. Both because of time spent doodling instead of knitting, and because I’ve already made two mistakes each of which caused me to rip out over 10 rows (there are 195 stitches in each row). So I keep going up and then back down. I’m not discouraged, just not sharing any pictures yet because they’ll all look the same :-)

Have a good weekend!

creativebug!

During June 2015 you can go to this oliver + s post to get one month free on creativebug without needing to supply your credit card details. Or you can watch some classes for free here. Thanks to Karen from Fringe Association for this link!


I first heard about creativebug through the Fancy Tiger Crafts blog – Jaime and Amber created a class called “Sew a One Hour Top” (and several others, which I found out about later), and I got to watch it for free. It basically gives you a digital pattern that’s a front piece and a back piece, no darts or gathers or anything time consuming, and the short videos guide you through sewing it up using a sewing machine or a serger, whichever you have or prefer. I’ve been in sewing block for a long time – [enter many excuses here] – and the One Hour Top was just the friendly nudge that I needed to get me to print, paste, cut, sew, and wear.

One hour top by Fancy Tiger Crafts

The first time I looked through other creativebug classes, I thought: “these classes are about simple stuff that I already know”, like how to cast on, how to sew stay stitching, etc. Which was a really silly thought, because there are so many classes on creativebug about things I don’t know, couldn’t even imagine searching for, and would love to know and craft and make!

Here are just a few of the classes I took and really loved, other than the “Sew a One Hour Top” class which is definitely one of my favorites:

Basic Line Drawing taught by Lisa Congdon

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This is the best class EVER. It’s a bit longer than others, but that’s also because it contains several recorded live chat sessions, which I enjoyed listening to, but which are not necessary if you just want to take the class. I got myself a sketchpad and some black markers and I’ve been happily doodling for hours, and can’t wait to get back home and doodle some more. It’s so inspiring and has opened up a world of possibilities: home decorations, pictures, printing on fabric, and so much more.

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my doodle from this morning

You might be able to tell that I’ve gone doodle-crazy. It is just so much fun!

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Orizomegami taught by Jody Alexander

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Fold washi paper, dip it in food coloring diluted in water, and you get these awesome prints! How awesome is that! I am definitely trying this out. Just need to get the paper and food coloring. What a great activity to do with kids (and friends)!

Veggie Stamp Picnic Blanket taught by Christine Schmidt

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All you need is fabric paint, some hard vegetables (like potatoes, turnips, sweet potato), a knife, and some fabric. This is just way too cool! What a great way to decorate napkins, a tablecloth, a pouch or tote, or even a shirt. Fun activity to do with kids, and it could be used to make a lovely handmade gift as well.

Japanese Side Sewn Sketchbook taught by Jody Alexander

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I love this class. What a lovely simple way to bind a notebook with a special touch, to give as a gift, or to have at home. Will definitely try it out also. Think how you can combine the stamping class, the orizomegami class, or the doodling class with this one! Endless possibilities ahead!

There are so many other classes I have yet to watch. They’re short and fun and clear, and so it’s not intimidating to just press “play” and watch. It’s not like a serious course with hours and hours to commit to. I love that!

Creativebug is definitely a treasure! I love it! Do check it out!

status update

I’ve been up to a lot, knitting and spinning wise, but haven’t gotten around to blogging about it. My excuse is that my parents took my point and shoot camera on their trip to Norway, and I didn’t want to upload bad quality smartphone photos to the blog. Excuses, excuses…

So here’s a short update about ongoing projects:

Pink Sweater is too long and the armhole is too big. The row gauge seems to be different in the sweater compared to the swatch – partly because of the drape and heaviness of the cotton/bamboo yarn. I finished the back and front and seamed them together, and finished the neckline. I need to attach sleeves – it might still be wearable as is, or I might tweak it, or unravel it (probably not).

I’ve been spinning White Gum Wool Merino combed top, as well as some bulky chain ply targhee yarn. Fun!

I added an “Ethical Yarn and Fiber” page to the blog, where I put my favorite shops for sourcing yarn and fiber with a clearer conscience.

I’ve progressed quite a bit with the Little Wave cardigan. I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s knit from the bottom up starting at the hem, front and back in one piece, and I’m now at the bust increases. I should be moving on to the sleeves soon.

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I wound the second ball of yarn into a center pull ball using the ball winder. I think it was worth the time and fuss, because now during knitting the yarn comes out from the center smoothly and the ball stays together nicely without bouncing around.

I’m participating in fibreshare. It’s been wonderful and fun so far! I’ve met some lovely knitters and I’ve been inspired to spin a bulky yarn (thick singles which I then chain plied or 3-plied) for my fibershare partner, grigritextile, because it’s the yarn weight she prefers. I didn’t imagine getting so much out of this experience – without even considering that I should soon be getting lovely yarn from my other fibreshare partner, @psychoknitter. I’m excited about that! But it’s the giving experience and actually sending physical items to a real person, considering what they’d enjoy, spinning fiber for a real knitter out there in the world, that makes it feel special and heartwarming.

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Fibreshare also motivated me to finally sew small pouches for holding place markers and such – some for me and some for my fibreshare partner.

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I’m waiting for some yarn I ordered online to arrive, and then I’ll be ready to send off my package to Lithuania.

I intended to write about creativebug – but that deserves a post all of its own! More on that soon!

knitting a sweater without a pattern

As you may have read in the previous post, I unraveled my first attempt at knitting a sweater without a pattern – well, that is, without a pattern written by someone else. That first attempt was for a modified drop-shoulder sweater, which is shaped more or less like this:

I made it too big, not that that’s a bad thing, because it’s supposed to be big, but it was taking up so much yarn – it seemed like it would ultimately take about twice as much yarn as I had originally expected, and I wasn’t too happy with it anyway.

So I cut my losses and started anew, this time with a set-in-sleeve sweater, which has more shaping to it so it should be harder to calculate the increases and decreases and such – so I should learn more from it! I guess the first try gave me the confidence to give it a go.

I used a 5 cm (2″) ease at the waist, bust, and hem, and made it high-hip length (as opposed to the original which was tunic length) – so the yarn I have should be enough.

I already finished the whole sweater back! And started knitting the sweater front, which is the same as the back, except for the neckline, and for a stitch pattern I want to incorporate starting below the bust.

It wasn’t that hard, after I broke it down to its sections, and watched some parts of the “Handknit Garment Design” Course by Shirley Paden again.

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the almost finished back

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breaking it up into sections. Some sections are worked even, some are worked with increases, some with decreases and the final section is worked with bind-offs.

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the bind off at the shoulder and neck of the completed back section

So far, so good! I hope to be posting the finished front soon. And I still have to work out the set-in sleeve (it’ll be a short sleeve).

Have a good day, everyone!

fails

As for my three goals of yesterday, I achieved only one and a half of them.

Posture: I did sit up straight all day at work, which is a big achievement seeing as I’ve been sitting hunched over and curled up in my chair for years. I found that when I got to some frustrating point at work, it helped me push forward just because I was breathing better, and not in a sort of dejected posture already. So I’m keeping that up. WIN.

Exercise: I got home yesterday and I was so tired I could hardly knit or do the huge pile of laundry or dishes or anything. I could have pushed myself out the door for a walk, but I really did not want to. So that goal was not achieved. FAIL.

Getting to work early: I got to work late today, as usual. It’s only half of a fail, because I was showered and dressed and ready on time, but my boyfriend preferred to sleep late. I could have taken my car to work, and I could have worked from home until he was ready, but I decided not to. I washed all of the dishes and did two loads of laundry. So I am calling this HALF FAIL HALF WIN.

Another fail I had was with my pink oversized tunic. It’s just too big.

There are more photos on instagram (@nowiknit) about the process.

This morning I unraveled it completely, and I had a second fail using the ball winder. I was applying too much tension on the yarn and the balls were not forming properly. So I have a huge pile of tangled yarn, but also a few properly formed balls once I got the hang of it.

What next with the pink yarn? Well, I spent about 4.5 50-gram balls of yarn on the back alone. So had I completed that oversized tunic, I would need at least 6 additional balls of yarn for the front and the sleeves. I decided to change tactics and knit a more fitted top, that would work well with a skirt, rather than a long tunic that would work well with tights. So I want to sew a simple knee-length skirt, and knit up a waist length or high-hip length top with short sleeves to go with it.

Maybe something like this:

Or…

Or this:

I don’t know yet – I have to think about it. Maybe I will try to design the pattern from scratch again, but using a set in sleeve and different measurements.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel too bad about unraveling my first attempt at designing my own pattern. It’s all part of the process. Onward to greater things! :-)

three attainable goals

There are so many things I’d love to do, or know I will benefit from doing, but time passes by and I just don’t do any of them. Some of those things are really practical and doable, but still, I’m stuck in the same bad habits that are hard to break. So I’ve chosen three attainable goals, and I’m committing here today to doing each of them at least once. Hopefully, once I see they’re not that hard (and maybe even enjoyable!), I will do them regularly :-)

Exercise

Just moderate exercise, like a half hour walk in the evening, or a bike ride. I used to love riding my bike! For some reason, I don’t want to exercise in a group setting – I just want to be on my own, or with my boyfriend (who is even less motivated than I am in this respect). I get home after a full day’s work at the office, and I want to knit or spin or just relax on the sofa as a sort of “compensation” and “me time”. But why can’t a walk outside be “me time” as well?

Goal for today – get home this evening, put on my walking shoes right away and go out for a walk with my headphones so I can listen to a podcast along the way.

I follow Sarah In Pursuit on instagram and read her blog. She runs. I don’t see myself running any time soon, but I find her inspiring.

Posture

I used to practice yoga, and I had such a nice posture. Nowadays, since I’m older and I sit at the computer at work curled up in the most convoluted assymetric posture, my posture has deteriorated.

Goal for today – sit up straight whenever I notice myself slouching. Sit either cross legged or with my feet on the floor.

Yoga can help develop and maintain good posture

Getting to work early

I am allowed to arrive at the office at any hour I want (more or less), but I have to work a certain number of hours a month. That makes it so easy to wake up late, knit, relax, arrive late at the office, and then either go into “work hour debt” or have to stay really late to make up the hours. It might seem like fun, but actually I feel tired and lacking in energy most of the time, and guilty, and bummed that my evenings are over by the time I get home – so what’s the point?

Goal for tomorrow – leave the house by 8:30.

There are others… But let’s start with three :-)

How about you? Do you have any doable goals that you’ve been stuck in a bad habit of just not doing? Please share in the comments! Have a great day!