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New Design – Raised Diamonds

At the starting of this year I decided that I would dedicate this year to making stuff for family. Made a sweater for Mom, and a shawl for Sis-in-law. And proceeded to start a scarf/muffler for Dad and Father-in-law. While the earlier projects got done soon enough, the Dad part of the scarf just got done.

Raised Diamonds
Raised Diamonds

This has been an interesting experience though. When I first designed the scarf, it was also a reversible design. The problem was that the final product was looking as good as the swatch. So it was back to the drawing board for me. And Oh! It was miserable ripping up 2 scarves (I was making them simultaneously).

This design was the one I finally went with. This time I cast on with only 1 yarn, in the thought that I would at least feel half the pain if I needed to rip again! πŸ™‚

But this looked good, and here is the final product! However, the design writing is an exercise I shall contemplate in about a month or so! πŸ˜‰

Close-up of modeled pic
Close-up of modeled pic
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Finally – Progress!

After struggling to keep knitting through the last couple of weeks, I finally managed to get the biggest piece of Linda Marveng’s Regal Purple done. I’m calling it Regal, and it’s in a lovely set of reds. The yarn is from Oswal Fibers, though this is the first time I don’t see a tag on their yarns. But my LYS insists that these are Oswal’s yarns…

The reason I say biggest piece is because this is a seamed cardigan. I just finished the back. The remaining pieces are the fronts’, the sleeves and the button band. So there’s a long way to go yet.

The problem with reds is that they don’t seem to photograph well. πŸ™ I havent given the shoulders in the pics, because, well, I’m not keen on a set of stitch-holders in my pics! πŸ™‚

The back
The back
The design
The design

 

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Cotton Apron

When I got up this morning, I promised myself that I’d get cracking on the sweaters that are pending work. However, once I finished breakfast, I suddenly decided i wanted a new apron. I’m not really sure why I want one though, i hardly use it!

But one thing was sure: the apron I already own has strings to be tied at the back.. and I’ve been enamoured by the professional chef aprons that tie right around to the waist in front. It’s just so cool! So that’s what I decided to make.

Another reason is that I desperately need to use up my fabric stash if I intend to buy more fabric.. So my project was for a good cause: to create space for more shopping! πŸ˜‰

While I havent reached the level where I’m comfortable showing off my haphazard sewing /cutting skills in photographic detail, here’s the final product. Though there are a couple of things I’m proud of:

  • The neat way I managed to make the borders without having fabric lift up after the stitch line
  • My stitched apron strings. This is my second attempt, and I’ve done a great job (even I say so myself)

What I’m not happy about is the fact that the armsyce is different on both sides. I’m not really sure how I managed that, though I do remember thinking that one side seemed easier to stitch than the other…

Without any further ado, there’s my apron!

How it looks on me!
How it looks on me!
Final apron with the disbalanced armsyce
Final apron with the imbalanced armsyce
The neat edges
The neat edges
the neat curved edge
the neat curved edge

 

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Back to School… Knitting School :)

Recently I’ve found myself studying again. Only thins time it’s not one of my MBA subjects, but Knitting.

Actually this blog post has been triggered by a guest who came home today. She asked me what I did all day, and I told her I knit, I design knitwear (actually, that was stretching the truth) and I teach knitting. Her immediate response was “so, you’re basically free the whole day! You don’t really have any work.” I was honestly taken aback. My family and friends are testimony to the fact that when I start knitting, I don’t have time for anything else, including housework! πŸ˜‰ And suddenly I was hearing a comment that kind of shook me with this perception. After a lot of discussion (read: monologue) she finally arrived at a happy conclusion: “You cook!” That apparently was acceptable “work”.

So I’ve been taking stock the whole day as to where I am with knitting. And I found that if it was possible, fiber arts could be a full-time formal education course! There is just so much to learn in fiber arts. Not just knitting, but crochet, weaving, even cross-stitch and embroidery! Anyway I don’t really have much talent (or time) for the others, so I’ll stick to knitting.

So i started jotting down what I would teach, if I was offering a formal course in Knitting 101:

  • Understanding Yarn: thickness, types. There’s so much to learn today in terms of blends, what can be blended, what cannot
  • This would also include what can be dyed, what cannot
  • Knitting needles – the sizes of needles, types
  • Knitting accessories
  • Starting to knit -This alone has so many sections!
    • different types of cast-ons
    • Knit, purl basics
    • increases and decreases
    • types of Bind-offs
  • Understanding gauge/tension
  • Knitting textures: knit-purl designs
  • Knitting textures: lace and cables basics
  • Knitting textures: twisted stitches, bobble
  • Knitting Textures: Edgings and beading
  • Garment structure
  • Garment basic design

This is something that has been on my mind for some time. I’m just hoping I manage to make it come true! Of course, with all the “practicals” interspersed with each of the sections, it probably would take close to 3-4 months for 1 course! πŸ™‚

Next I’ll come to what I want to learn: Garment Design. This also includes writing my own designs. And there’s so much to learn!!!

Starting from being able to design the garment of choice, to the patterns that I would use. And then comes writing it all down. This alone is a huge section. Earlier today I came across this website called Stitch Maps that looks at design is a very visual way. That’s such a different way of looking at design! I’ve always thought Knitting charts to be very linear, while crochet charts to be free-form. Now this site has managed to make knitting charts in free-form style!

After all this comes editing the said designing. I hadn’t heard about knitting requiring technical editing before. Tech Edit was something that techies did for their design documents. But, Knitting?! The answer is yes! Apparently there is a lot going into tech editing a knit design. Most design publications have their own teams of tech editors! Wow! That seems to be a whole new world!

The of course comes the selling, promotions and publication of designs. Whew!

What I haven’t covered are advance knitting skills such as Intarsia, Entrelac, knitting small circular items such as socks and mittens, Double Knitting, knitting with color, Fair Isle knitting, pockets… the list goes on.

I’m not really sure if I could possibly try everything on this list. But I’ll try at least one item in each.Β  here’s to wishing me luck! πŸ™‚

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Crossroads Hat

This was a lovely quick project! I started a couple of days back, and here I’m DONE! πŸ˜€

This pattern has been designed by Elena Nodel, and was contributed to the Project-a-Month group on Ravelry.The hat is made with 2 colors, and is a great beginner project for using different colors as well as cables. Made with DK weight yarn, it definitely knits up fast! Of course, I didn’t really buy DK weight yarn, I just went ahead and used 2 colors of fingering weight held double. What a wonderful way of emptying my stash! πŸ˜‰

It actually is paired with a cowl, which would help my chances of winning an exclusive dyed merino Skien from Elena, but I’ll have to forego that. I really don’t have the need for a cowl in sunny Bangalore! πŸ™‚

Here are the pics of this lovely knit!

close up of the cabled strands
close up of the cabled strands
the overall look!
the overall look!

 

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Works of Art: Midori OBI Bags

Hubby has just returned from the Land of The Rising Sun, and got me this wonderful gift. When thinking of Japan, we think Kimonos, kokeshi dolls and goegeous hand-made fans. But this was a gift a totally unexpected surprise!

The main reason I’ve mention this gift here, is because of the beauty of this handmade product.

OBI bag
OBI bag
The back panel in self-design silk
The back panel in self-design silk

This is a OBI Paccetto in handmade pure silk, made from vintage sash belts (obi). The upper pane features the design panel, while the rest of the bag is made in handmade black silk. The back of the bag is done is self-design black silk that feels absolutely decadent.

The Midori OBI Arts in Japan specializes in kimonos, and gifts made from the same materials geared towards tourists. So the bags are made from kimonos or, in this case, from the sash belts worn in the traditional japanese dress.

So now I’m off the enjoy my gift! πŸ™‚

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Left Bank Cardigan – WIP

I started this particular cardigan on 25th March, with a deadline of 27th April.

I’m not really sure why the designer has named this cardigan so, but am going with it for now. The design is a simple ribbing, and that is all that gives this cardigan an amazingly cool look.

Unfortunately I’m about 30% done at this stage, and that’s not likely to improve too much by deadline date. Happily though, the designer has agreed that the timeline was short right at the beginning of the project. So as long as I am able to test it, and find errors along the way, sticking to deadline isn’t much of a priority to her. Unfortunately, it is for me, andΒ  I just hate missing a deadline. πŸ™

Here’s my progress till date. Not much to go by, but the yarn looks great! πŸ™‚

Left Bank Cardigan
Left Bank Cardigan

 

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Got the Blues…

There are some projects that are started.. and then get left behind some other newer project. Thats what happened with this shawl. I’d meant it to be my first triangle shawl. I was always fascinated with the shape, but terrified of attempting a gorgeous lacy ones I keep seeing on Ravelry.

So when I came across the Harry shawl, I decided to finally take the plunge, and see if I can knit it. And the answer is yes!! I did manage to complete the shawl, and it looks lovely.

All in Blue…
The lace bit
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Adult Winifred – Test Knit

This is one of the 3 projects due this month. This sweater/tunic was given by 15th Sept. I thought I could manage to finish it within 1 month. But health, guests and travel managed to make this a rush finish job!

The sweater
The cable design

I learnt quite a few important things:

  • Knitting Top-down Raglan shaped sweater. It was a huge concern if I would be able to do it. Yes, I can!!! πŸ˜€
  • Shaping: waist decreases and increases.
  • Contrasting colors: It doesn’t hurt to try something new, even if the design doesn’t call for it.

I started with a grey Oswal yarn which was originally earmarked for the DH. I’m not really sure why he rejected my offer to make a sweater, actually. But he did. So I decided to use it for this purpose.

The design has an option of making a sweater or increasing the length to a tunic. My only concern with it once I started knitting, was the gauge, or rather the number of stitches it necessitated :(. The sheer number of stitches per row was the main reason i just couldn’t persuade myself to finish it. It didn’t help matters that mine was one of the larger sizes, which in turn meant… u guessed it: more stitches!!!

So I finally managed to complete it to sweater length. The gray was boring me out, so added plum for a nice hem contrast.

 

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Basic Mobile Pouch

This is my first project on my new sewing machine. πŸ™‚ YAY!!

Actually I have done other stuff with the machine. It’s only that most of them comprised of repairs of clothing and bed sheets, and new pair of pillow covers. So I finally mustered up some courage to get sewing projects.

I have some self-knit mobile pouches. But, like handbags and shoes, a girl just can’t have too many. So with the left over fabric from the pillow covers, came this lovely mobile pouch. πŸ™‚

The pouch came out fast enough. The problem lay with the handle and the deco. For deco, i zeroed on some leftover flower sequins which could be pastes on. The handle was tougher. I decided to do a ragged-y braid with the same fabric. It’s not the neatest look, but I kinda liked it that way.

The final product πŸ˜€
The inside (wotever can be seen)
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The Dye-ing Experiment

After my last post on thread on dyeing the cotton yarn, I had a couple of people ask me to note down the entire process. So i took that as an excuse to finally dye the last hank of yarn I had. This also meant that it would have to be green because that’s the only dye I have left… any more would mean a trip to Commercial Street, and I really don’t have time for shopping now.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 ltr vessel that you wont ever use for food again
  • a pair of tongs or a spoon for turning the yarn
  • 10gms of acidic powder dye
  • 1 hank of cotton yarn
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Step 1:

  • Ensure the cotton yarn is tied neatly into a hank. This is necessary to ensure that you can manage the yarn while dyeing.
  • Though you are tying it in 2-3 places, ensure it is not too tight. The dye will not reach the inside yarn otherwise

Step 2:

  • Heat about 3 lts of water to lukewarm and add the vinegar. Add the undyed yarn to the water and set aside until cool.
  • Keep turning the yarn intermittently to ensure that the entire yarn is washed well in the vinegar. Drain and set the yarn aside
  • The purpose is to wash off all impurities in the yarn and also traces of other dyes. This especially helps when you’ve tried with food coloring, and it didn’t work. I did this, so I know!
When I put the yarn into the vinegar-water
2 mintues later (check the color of the water in the background)

Step 3:

  • Drain the vinegar water, and replace with clean water.
  • Bring the water to boil, and then add salt and dye and mix well to ensure no lumps remain. Here I added a 1/2 tsp of turmeric just to see if it affected the final green. The last time I’d used the same dye, I got a forest green, So I wanted something different.
  • Let the water boil for a few minutes more and then add the cotton yarn.
  • Turn off the flame immediately. This I learnt with trial-and-error. The dye shop guy told me to boil the yarn with the dye. When I did this, the yarn kinda crinkled up. Not sure why, but when I don’t boil it, the yarn remained smooth. Boiling didn’t affect the softness of the yarn, but just gave an odd look to the yarn.
  • Keep turning the yarn in the dye every 2 minutes to ensure it reaches all parts of the yarn
  • Once the dye has cooled off, and while turning, you feel that the yarn has caught the color properly throughout the yarn, take it out
When I put the yarn in the dye
When the color is catching on the dye

Step 4:

  • Drain the dye and wash the yarn thoroughly until it stops bleeding color.
  • Add a bit of detergent to water, and wash again till it stops bleeding color.
  • You may also soak the yarn in fabric softener to help it maintain softness (I do this)

Step 5:

  • Dry it out πŸ™‚
My Dye Results

Here is a pic of all my experiments side-by-side. Note the difference in the green yarns. Apparently turmeric does change the color, But I need to wait and watch if this effect is permanent. Turmeric isn’t really known for permanent cotton dyeing properties. In fact I always manage to get it off my cotton clothes when I have a cooking accident…

Also note the slightly less crinkly nature of the center yarn. Thats the lastest one that I’ve written about.

Most of what I did was a mix of what I learnt through various websites on dyeing, and a bit of experimentation on my part. Had some hit, and some misses… but that’s what learning is all about!